In the last part of our Tejano Moments series, we introduced you to Lieutenant Col. Francisco Ruiz and how he contributed to the city of San Antonio.
Now, we’re sharing how he and many others literally risked everything, even their lives, for Texas’ independence.
Although Tejanos had their own capital, Spain still ruled over them with an absolute monarchy.
However in 1810, after Father Hidalgo’s cry for independence, Tejanos joined the first attempts at freedom.
“He gathers his family, his immediate family and extended family, and they start to head east,” said Rudi Rodriguez, a local historian and founder of texastejano.com.
“They’re going to kill him,” he added.
Ruiz receives his first commission as a first lieutenant in the Compania Volantes (Light Calvary) that is here in San Antonio.
Ruiz would later become second in command.
Then in 1813, an army known as the Army of the North attacked at Nacogdoches.
This inspired other Tejanos to fight back, succeeding in Victoria, Gonzales and then San Antonio.
After their victory, the first constitutional government was created, and Texas became independent and free.
Later in August of the same year, a Spanish army began attacking San Antonio too -- this was known as The Battle of Medina.
Rodriguez said, “There’s leading officers who are lost in battle. There’s a conflict among military leaders, So he’s actually in charge at the Battle of Medina and the retreat.”
Sadly, over 1,000 lives were lost in the army made up of American filibusters, Tejanos and natives.
The Ruiz family along with many other families were forced to flee for their lives.
“They do succeed in capturing some of them and they are executed. Many of them are successful in crossing into the Louisiana border and they literally save their lives because of that,” said Rodriguez,
Several years later in 1821, the Republic of Mexico was finally created, and Ruiz and other Tejanos were able to return to their homes.