SAN ANTONIO – Between 1688 and 1836 Texas had many Spanish and Mexican governors who were the first Tejano leaders of the state.
These governors were appointed to govern New Spain’s new royal province which was the Texas area.
They were given the power to bring law and order, colonization and Christianization.
The first man to take on a leadership role was General Alonzo De Leon. He led the first expeditions into the Texas area and also established some of the first presidios and missions.
“He’s not formally the first governor, but he’s certainly the first governmental entity that begins to clear the path for the first governor,” TexasTejano.com historian Rudi Rodriguez said.
That first governor would end up being General Donmigo Teran De Los Rios, in 1691. At the time he was also the governor of Coahuila, Mexico.
In 1716 General Martin De Alarcon became governor, He is credited with founding San Antonio.
Around this time the Spanish Governor’s Palace which is still standing in downtown San Antonio was being built. San Antonio would eventually become the capital of Texas and Governor Juan Maria Vicencio was the first to live there.
“He begins to live in this colonial beautiful dwelling and brings his headquarters here and for the first time, this begins to be understood as the Spanish Governor’s Palace,” Rodriguez said.
From this point until 1836 many Spanish or Mexican governors would be of some significance to the development of the state and Tejano history.
The last new Spain governor was Antonio Maria Martinez in 1821 and the last Mexican Governor was Ramo Musquiz in 1835.
“They all helped develop the culture and society,” Rodriguez said. “They are really some of the governance that helps develop the American southwest.”
To learn about these governors you can visit, TexasTejano.com.