SAN ANTONIO – Tejanos are descendants of the first Spanish, Mexican, and indigenous families of the Texas frontier, dating back to 1690.
In a three part series, KSAT dives into the legacy of “Don Jose Antonio Navarro” and how he became a Texas independence hero.
Much is known about American immigrants from the east like Stephen F. Austin, Davy Crockett and James Bowie but, there were many other heroes who risked their lives for a free Texas.
“Texas was Tejas from 1690 and the Tejanos, the native Tejanos, had been here since that time,” Rudi Rodriguez, a historian and founder of Texastejano.com said.
Born in San Antonio in 1795, Don Jose Antonio Navarro was a leading participant in the Texas Revolution.
His father, Angel Navarro, was a native of Corsica and his mother, Maria Josefa Ruiz, was a descendant from a noble Spanish family.
He was sent to school at an early age in Saltillo, New Spain.
Navarro returned after his father’s death to help manage the family merchant and ranching businesses, focusing more on the business side of things.
Overtime, he became a law student and eventually found a passion for politics.
“I think he had an affinity for following in his father’s footsteps and his other two brothers, Rodriguez said.
His experience in politics would be what helped him during the era of the “Mexican Revolution”, joining a Tejano movement to make Texas free from New Spain.
In the years following the 1813 revolution, Navarro developed a friendship with Stephen F. Austin and his interest in colonizing Texas deepened.
He supported Texas statehood in 1835 and embraced the idea of independence the following year.
Along with his uncle, José Francisco Ruiz and Lorenzo De Zavala, he became one of the three signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence.
If you are interested in visiting the Casa Navarro State Historic Site, click here for the hours and location.