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Beyond the Alamo

Forging Mexican Ethnicity in San Antonio, 1821-1861

Raúl A. Ramos

Publication Year: 2008

Ramos explores the factors that helped shape the ethnic identity of the Tejano population, including cross-cultural contacts between Bexare?os, indigenous groups, and Anglo-Americans, as they negotiated the contingencies and pressures on the frontier of competing empires. Initial peace gave way to violence as tensions between Anglo-American immigrants and the Mexican government made cultural brokerage impossible, leading to Texas's secession from Mexico and subsequent annexation by the United States. Ramos demonstrates that Bexare?os turned to their experience on the frontier to forge a new ethnic identity within dominant American culture. The nineteenth-century story of the Tejano people, who went from political dominance in 1821 to political minority in 1861, is a story of declension, but it is also a story of resurgence in the face of changing conditions and oppressive circumstances.

Published by: The University of North Carolina Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. 2-7

CONTENTS

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pp. vii-11

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

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pp. xi-xiii

This project has gone through its share of fits and starts and exists because of the timely intervention of grants, keen observations, and camaraderie. The Ford Foundation provided the initial investment in my academic career. My project first took shape during a year as a Charles Gaius Bolin Fellow at Williams College. Joel Wolfe and K. Scott Wong saw its early promise. Several mentors guided...

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INTRODUCTION: Forging Identity in the Borderlands: Situating San Antonio de Béxar

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pp. 1-14

Most nineteenth-century travelers approached Béxar from the south along the main road, the Camino Real, with a sense of relief and wonder. The relief came from arriving at a town safely after days of traversing the brush country, exposed to the possibility of attack from one of a variety of indigenous groups controlling the area, such as the Comanche or Lipan Apache. Indeed...

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PROLOGUE: Life in a Norteño Town

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pp. 15-24

Most nineteenth-century travelers approached Béxar from the south along the main road, the Camino Real, with a sense of relief and wonder. The relief came from arriving at a town safely after days of traversing the brush country, exposed to the possibility of attack from one of a variety of indigenous groups controlling the area, such as the Comanche or Lipan Apache. Indeed, immediately upon arrival, most Mexican travelers attended mass at San...

PART I. TREE WORLDS IN 1821

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pp. 25-43

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1. Making Mexico: Insurgency and Social Order in Béxar

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pp. 27-52

On September 27, 1821, military officials in Béxar lowered the Spanish flag flying over the presidio in Béxar and raised the Mexican flag in its place.1 The solemn and orderly transfer belied the contentious and often violent rebellion, known as the insurgency, of the preceding decade. On two separate occasions, in 1811 and 1813, insurgents and royal troops had clashed in and around Béxar, affecting the lives of people in the entire region. While the...

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2. Indigenous Identities: Locating “lo Indio” in the Tejano World

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pp. 53-80

When prominent Bexareño Francisco Ruiz presented his report to General Manuel Mier y Terán on Indians living in the Department of Texas in 1828, his observations carried the weight of a native of the region and an individual involved in indigenous relations as an agent and soldier. His notes distinguished between dozens of indigenous groups with an eye toward the possibilities of peace and alliance or war. Of the Lipan Apache, Ruiz wrote, “In...

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3. American Immigrants: Colonization and Tejano Identity

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pp. 81-108

In 1821, Stephen F. Austin organized the first foreign land grant colonization of Texas, with the goal of emigrating 250 families from the United States. Austin’s settlement project would not have succeeded, or for that matter even started, without Tejano support and encouragement. Tejano political leaders ushered through legislation at the state level and smoothed over obstacles as they...

PART II. BECOMING TEJANO

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pp. 109-127

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4. Disrupting the Balance: Colonization Troubles, 1828–1834

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pp. 111-132

On April 25, 1831, Father Refugio de la Garza, Béxar’s longtime priest, wed the Anglo-American immigrant James Bowie and Ursula de Veramendi.1 Veramendi’s parents, Juan Martín de Veramendi and María Josefa Ruiz de Navarro, each came from notable families. Josefa’s brother Francisco Ruiz had served as an important official during the Spanish and Mexican periods. Angel...

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5. La Pérdida de Tejas: Tejanos and the War of Texas Secession, 1834–1837

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pp. 133-166

In early fall of 1835, the citizens and government officials of Béxar gathered to prepare for the upcoming Independence Day celebration. For almost a decade since independence, Mexicans marked the origins of the independence movement beginning on the evening of September 15 and continuing through the next day. The decisions to commemorate the events of 1810 rather than....

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6. Tejanos as a Suspect Class: The End of Secession, 1837–1848

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pp. 167-204

After the loss at San Jacinto, General Antonio López de Santa Anna relinquished control of Texas to the Texan secessionists. For Anglo- Texans, the end of the war ushered in the Republic of Texas era. For Tejanos, though, the war’s end brought only more uncertainty regarding their future. Their political and ethnic relation to Mexico stood at the center of that uncertainty. Mexicans continued to call for the reconquest of Texas, leading to two brief invasions...

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7. Voting and Violence: Tejanos and Ethnic Politics, 1848–1861

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pp. 205-230

The morning of September 12, 1857, began like countless others for Bexareño cart driver Nicanor Valdez.1 He and a convoy of twelve Mexican teamsters continued their haul of American military supplies on the public road between San Antonio and the port on the Gulf of Mexico at Lavaca. Only this time, the convoy encountered an attack by a group of heavily armed bandits from Helena, in Karnes County. The attackers, about forty men in masks...

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CONCLUSION: Challenging Identities: Transnational Becomes Local

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pp. 231-238

This book started with Diez y Seis de Septiembre and ends with the same celebration, only seventy-five years later. On September 16, 1910, Mexicans marked the centennial of their independence with larger versions of the annual parades and celebrations. The Mexican government established a centennial commission to oversee the work of local organizing juntas patrioticas formed across the nation. The juntas extended into the borderlands area of the United States...

NOTES

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pp. 239-280

INDEX

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pp. 281-297


E-ISBN-13: 9781469604657
E-ISBN-10: 1469604655
Print-ISBN-13: 9780807871249
Print-ISBN-10: 0807871249

Page Count: 320
Illustrations: 2 line drawings, 1 map
Publication Year: 2008