Rancheros and Settlers in South Texas, 1734-1900
Publication Year: 1998
This is a pathbreaking study of Tejano ranchers and settlers in the Lower Río Grande Valley from their colonial roots to 1900. The first book to delineate and assess the complexity of Mexican-Anglo interaction in south Texas, it also shows how Tejanos continued to play a leading role in the commercialization of ranching after 1848 and how they maintained a sense of community. Despite shifts in jurisdiction, the tradition of Tejano land holding acted as a stabilizing element and formed an important part of Tejano history and identity. The earliest settlers arrived in the 1730s and established numerous ranchos and six towns along the river. Through a careful study of land and tax records, brands and bills of sale of livestock, wills, population and agricultural censuses, and oral histories, Alonzo shows how Tejanos adapted to change and maintained control of their ranchos through the 1880s, when Anglo encroachment and changing social and economic conditions eroded most of the community's land base.
Published by: University of New Mexico Press
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Title Page, Copyright
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The Origins of Spanish and Mexican Society in Present-Day South Texas,3. Early Economic Life in the Lower Río Grande Frontier, 17305-1848 677. Recovery and Expansion of Tejano Ranching in South Texas, 1845–1885...
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Table 2.1. Population of the Rio Grande Villas in Selected Years 41Table 2.2. Intermediate and Large Land Grants Issued under Spain andTable 4.1. Population of Counties in South Texas, by Decade, 1860—1900 97Table 4.3. Occupational Distribution of Mexicans and Americans in HidalgoTable 4.4. Occupational Structure of Mexican and American Males,...
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In the process of researching and writing this book, I received assistance fromnumerous persons and institutions. Professors George I. Juergens, Silvia Ar-rom, John Bodnar, and Maurice G. Baxter of my dissertation committee atIndiana University directed my initial research and offered advice that provedinvaluable in expanding my original study of Tejano land tenure in Hidalgo...
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There is a continuing legacy for the Tejano—the descendants of the Spanishand Mexican settlers—of the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas: deep historicalroots, town and rural traditions, and an enduring culture and identity. Forgenerations of settlers, adaptation to a harsh environment and adjustment to achanging society became the cornerstone of their existence. Beginning with the...
1. Spaniards, Indians, and the Inhospitable Seno Mexicano
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The Spanish conquest of much of present-day Mexico was a dynamic processthat proceeded with varying speeds and in various directions, continuing forgenerations and reaching particular regions at different times and sometimesbecause of different motives. After the conquest of the Aztec empire in 1521,small Spanish armies rapidly pushed across much of Middle America, defeat-...
2. Hacia la Frontera: The Origins of Spanish and Mexican Society in Present-Day South Texas, 1730s-1848
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The Spanish bureaucracy in New Spain considered a number of proposalsbefore deliberately choosing a colonizer for the conquest and settlement of theSeno Mexicano. The first two proposals for the conquest of the Seno Mexicanowere made in 1736: one by Narciso Barquin de Montecuesta, former corregidor,or municipal officer, of Santiago de los Valles near Tampico, who proposed...
3. Early Economic Life in the Lower Río Grande Frontier, 1730s-1848
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While the settlement of an exposed frontier and the Christianization of In-dians were lofty goals of Spain's imperial policy in the Seno Mexicano, thesuccess of the enterprise was significantly dependent on the ability of thesettlers to make a decent life for themselves. Historians long have had aninterest in the economic history of the colony, and especially in the Lower Rio...
4. The Making of a Tejano Homeland in South Texas, 1848-1900 Population Growth, Adaptation, and Conflict
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Ever since the appearance of the so-called Mexican problem in the AmericanSouthwest during the 19205, both native and foreign-born Mexicans in theUnited States have been the subject of considerable study by social scientists.Much of their focus has centered on the group's social customs, family organi-zation, and its assimilation into American life. The older literature depicted...
5. Losing Ground: Anglo Challenges to Mexican Landholders and Land Grant Adjudication in South Texas, 1846-1900
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It is impossible to fully understand the anxiety that weighed heavily on Mexi-can landholders whose lands and other material possessions remained on thenorth side of the Rio Grande during the war with Mexico and the immediatepostwar years. Still, it was certain that this difficult period would bring aboutMexican-Anglo confrontation because the newly annexed lands offered few...
6. A Case Study of Tejano Land Tenure in Hidalgo County, Texas, 1848–1900
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As noted above, land-grant adjudication by the state of Texas resulted in theconfirmation of the vast majority of mejicano claims to Spanish and Mexicanland grants. Once this had occurred, newcomers from the United States, Mex-ico, and Europe pressed their efforts to gain land from the original granteesand their descendants because prior to confirmation it had been too risky...
7. Recovery and Expansion of Tejano Ranching in South Texas, 1845–1885 The Good Years
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Even before the war with Mexico, United States economic penetration hadbeen felt in some areas of northern Mexico, including coastal California,northern New Mexico, and the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Tamaulipas. Thepresence of a small but influential group of Anglo-American and Europeanmerchants and artisans at Matamoros since 1820 was a portent of future events...
8. The Decline of Tejano Ranching: Its Social and Economic Bases, 1885–1900
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Whereas the 18705 and early i88os were good years for Mexican as well as Angloranchers throughout south Texas, by the mid-i88os declining prices in themarketplace and other problems began to adversely affect Tejano rancheros. Asthe new century approached, the ranching economy remained largely stag-nant, and new changes were in the offing as the movement to convert the...
9. Tejano Rancheros and Hispanic Landholding in the Southwest, 1848–1900
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Most historians, such as David R Weber and Rodolfo Acuna, agree that thecrucible of Mexican American history is the period from 1848 to 1900, whenthe old settlers, the Mexicans, and the new arrivals from Europe and theUnited States forged significant relationships that shaped the society and econ-omy of the region. With land as the basis of wealth for most of the settlers,...
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Over a period of 150 years (from the 17305 to 1900), the settlers in the LowerValley proved to be hardy, resilient, and adaptable to changing circumstances,qualities that helped most of them adjust to a variety of changes. A difficultclimate, nomadic Indians, shifts in the marketplace, changes in sovereignty,and conflict with Anglos did not dent the spirit of a people who for generations...
Appendix 1. Definition of Terms
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Appendix 2. A Note on Sources
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Appendix 3. Livestock Transactions Recorded in Hidalgo County, 1874–1899
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Appendix 4. Livestock Transactions in Webb County, Texas, 1876–1890
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...1. Israel Cavazos Garza, Breve historia de Nuevo Leon, (Mexico City, 1994), 98—99, 101. Iam using Lower Valley and south Texas interchangeably to mean the lands from the RioGrande to the Nueces River, but it should be understood that up to 1848 the Lower Valleyincluded the original towns on the south side of the Rio Grande. Chronologically, the firstsettlers were the Spanish, who after 1821 renamed themselves Mexican. These Mexican or...
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Page Count: 376
Publication Year: 1998