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La Bahía becomes Goliad

February
04
1829

On this day in 1829, the Mexican government issued a decree officially changing the name La Bahía to Villa de Goliad. The term La Bahía (“the bay”) historically referred to several entities, including La Bahía del Espíritu Santo (present Matagorda and Lavaca bays) and Nuestra Señora del Espíritu Santo de Zúñiga Mission and its accompanying presidio. Coahuila and Texas state legislator Rafael Antonio Manchola proposed the change, arguing that the name of the settlement around the presidio was meaningless because neither the mission nor presidio were located on “the bay.” His suggestion of “Goliad” was actually an anagram for the name of Father Hidalgo, the priest who led the fight for Mexican independence. For a time during the 1830s settlers called the town both La Bahía and Goliad. The community played a key role in the Texas Revolution and became the site of the signing of the first declaration of independence for Texas.

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