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San Juan Bautista Mission founded

June
24
1699

On this day in 1699, San Juan Bautista Mission was founded and so named in honor of the feast day of St. John. Franciscan fathers Francisco Hidalgo, Antonio de San Buenaventura y Olivares, and Marcos de Guereña of the College of Santa Cruz de Querétaro established the mission on the Río de Sabinas about twenty-five miles north of Lampazos, Nuevo León, Mexico. A few months later they moved the complex to a site near present-day Guerrero, Coahuila, thirty-five miles down the Rio Grande from Eagle Pass. Regarded as the mother of Texas missions, San Juan Bautista served as a gateway for expeditions to the Texas interior. In 1716 Domingo Ramón set out from San Juan Bautista on an entrada to reestablish missions in East Texas. Two years later Governor Martín de Alarcón launched his founding expedition to San Antonio there. Soldiers of the mission’s presidio provided supply trains and escorts for travelers into Texas. Though the significance and role of the mission complex had diminished by the early 1800s it did serve as a staging area for troops as late as the Mexican War.

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