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Isleño leader dies

January
25
1779

On this day in 1779, Vicente Álvarez Travieso, leader of the isleño settlers of San Antonio, died. Álvarez Travieso was born on the island of Tenerife in 1705. When Spanish royal authorities, hoping to reduce the expense of a purely military settlement, decided on a plan to transfer a number of Canary Islanders to Texas, Álvarez Travieso joined them. When they arrived at their new home, San Fernando de Béxar (now San Antonio), in 1731, the isleños established the first regularly organized municipal government in Texas and elected Álvarez Travieso alguacil mayor (chief constable) for life. He soon became a leading spokesman for the colonists and something of a problem for the colonial administration. When the islanders were refused permission to travel to Saltillo for medical attention, Álvarez Travieso launched a series of lawsuits on behalf of his disgruntled companions. In the 1770s the Álvarez Travieso clan became known for their vigorous pursuit of unbranded stray cattle, many of which had wandered away from neighboring mission pastures. To stop such "excesses" Governor Vicencio de Ripperdá conducted two rustling trials against the ranchers of the San Antonio River valley. Álvarez Travieso died just after these proceedings.

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