Banco Nacional de Texas

By: Jesús "Frank" de la Teja

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: November 1, 1994

The Banco Nacional de Texas, or Texas National Bank, was established as a bank of issue by Governor José Félix Trespalacios in San Antonio on October 21, 1822. Members of the city council were made officers in the bank, and four soldiers were given the task of hand-producing the notes. Just under 12,000 pesos was issued in two installments on November 1 and December 1, 1822, before the bank was suspended. The short-lived experiment in emergency financing proved costly to most noteholders, who had to wait until 1830 for redemption of the Texas money by the Mexican government.

Upon his arrival in Texas, Trespalacios found the province's troops in such a deplorable state that he hit upon the idea of issuing paper money, to be backed by the specie due from the central government, as wages to the soldiers. Although the currency was declared legal tender for public and private debts, the doubtful money soon led to trouble. Citizens readily paid their taxes to the municipality in the notes, but many individuals had to be forced to accept the paper money. The matter was further complicated by the arrival of Mexican emperor Agustín de Iturbide's own paper currency and orders that Texas paper be exchanged for imperial.

Holders of the notes refused to accept national paper in return for the Texas notes, arguing that Trespalacios had guaranteed the Bank of Texas money in specie. Negotiations dragged on between 1823 and 1829 before the Mexican Congress passed a law in 1829 ordering that the Texas notes be redeemed with specie. In 1830 the controversial currency was finally exchanged in Saltillo for coin provided by the customhouses of Matamoros and Tampico.

Carlos E. Castañeda, "The First Chartered Bank West of the Mississippi: Banco Nacional de Texas," Bulletin of the Business Historical Society 25 (December 1951).
Time Periods:
  • Mexican Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Jesús "Frank" de la Teja, “Banco Nacional de Texas,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 26, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

November 1, 1994

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