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Self-styled Baron de Bastrop born in Dutch Guiana


On this day in 1759, Philip Hendrik Nering Bögel, one of the most important and colorful figures in the history of the colonization of Texas, was born in Dutch Guiana. Bögel moved to Holland with his parents in 1764, and in 1779 enlisted in the cavalry of Holland and Upper Issel. He claimed to have left the Netherlands in 1793 due to the French invasion of Holland, but actually left to avoid trial on charges of embezzlement of tax funds. Bögel decamped to Spanish Louisiana, where he adopted the title Baron de Bastrop and represented himself as a Dutch nobleman. After Louisiana was sold to the United States in 1803, Bastrop moved to Spanish Texas and was permitted to establish a colony between Bexar and the Trinity River. In 1806 he settled in San Antonio, where he had a freighting business and gained influence with the inhabitants and officials. In 1820, Bastrop convinced Governor Antonio María Martínez to approve Moses Austin's project to establish an Anglo-American colony in Texas. Bastrop also served as intermediary with the Mexican government for Stephen F. Austin. Beginning in 1824, Bastrop served in the state legislature of Coahuila and Texas. He died in 1827 and was buried in Saltillo. Though his pretensions to nobility were not universally accepted at face value even in his own lifetime, he earned respect as a diplomat and legislator.

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