Miguel de la Garza Falcón, explorer, colonizer, and soldier, the son of Gen. Blas de la Garza Falcón and Beatriz de Villarreal, was born in Pesquería, Nuevo León. On October 8, 1699, he was baptized at the cathedral in Monterrey. He was the brother of the colonizer Blas María de la Garza Falcón, whose descendants still reside in South Texas. His father was governor of Coahuila (1723–29, 1733–35). Miguel was married, but his wife's name is unknown. It is believed that he had three children. He served twenty years as alferez and lieutenant under his father. In 1735, the elder Garza Falcón and José Antonio de Ecay Múzquiz were ordered to explore both sides of the Rio Grande to locate a site for the proposed Presidio de Santa Rosa María del Sacramento. Traveling upstream, the party located a likely site some twenty miles from San Juan Bautista, near the site of Guerrero, Coahuila. The main body stopped there, but Miguel de la Garza Falcón was ordered to explore fifty leagues farther upstream. Because of rough terrain and snow he and his men were able to travel only twenty leagues in three days, to a place called La Santa Cruz de Mayo, where some unknown Spanish explorer had set up a large wooden cross. There he turned back and after three days' hard march rejoined his father. Permission was given for temporary location of the presidio on the Río de San Diego, and General Garza Falcón was named commandant. In 1736 the general died, and Capt. Miguel de la Garza Falcón was appointed commandant. In 1747 he took part in exploring the Rio Grande south to its mouth, preparatory to the colonization of Nuevo Santander. That same year he was with Governor Pedro de Rábago y Terán in the exploration of the Big Bend of the Rio Grande and La Junta de los Ríos. It is possible that he explored more of the Rio Grande than anyone before the Mexican War.
In 1753 archbishop and viceroy Juan Antonio Vizarrón y Eguiarreta appointed Garza Falcón juez comicionado (special judge) and captain ad interim of San Francisco Xavier de Gigedo Presidio on the San Gabriel River in Texas, where he was to investigate the death of Fray Juan José de Ganzabal (see SAN XAVIER MISSIONS). After arriving at the pestilence–infested presidio, Garza Falcón died, on August 26, 1753. Falcon, Texas, in Zapata County, Texas, is so named as a tribute to him; in 1954 the International Falcon Reservoir, which is located in the Rio Grande basin in Starr and Zapata counties, Texas, and in Tamaulipas, Mexico, was also dedicated in his honor. A ford a few miles from Laredo is called Don Miguel Crossing or Garza Crossing.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Herbert Eugene Bolton, Texas in the Middle Eighteenth Century: Studies in Spanish Colonial History and Administration (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1915; rpt., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1970). Patsy Jeanne Byfield, Falcon Dam and the Lost Towns of Zapata (Austin: Texas Memorial Museum, 1971). Carlos E. Castañeda, Our Catholic Heritage in Texas (7 vols., Austin: Von BoeckmannJones, 1936–58; rpt., New York: Arno, 1976). Clotilde P. García, Captain Blas María de la Garza Falcón: Colonizer of South Texas (Austin: Jenkins, 1984). Florence J. Scott, Historical Heritage of the Lower Rio Grande (San Antonio: Naylor, 1937; rev. ed., Waco: Texian Press, 1966; rpt., Rio Grande City, Texas: La Retama Press, 1970). Robert S. Weddle, San Juan Bautista: Gateway to Spanish Texas (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1968).
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Clotilde P. García,
“Garza Falcón, Miguel de la,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 28, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
January 1, 1995
Most Recent Revision Date:
August 2, 2020
This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: