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PORT OF SAN BERNARD. The only legal port in Texas for many years was San Bernard, a coastal region rather than a definite location. It was established by royal decree on September 28, 1805, and was renewed by the Spanish Cortes in 1820. In 1808 Spanish officials surveyed the Matagorda Bay area to obtain information for the establishment of a permanent port, but nothing was done, although agitation continued for such an establishment. There was no customhouse, the captain of Nuestra Señora de Loreto Presidio being designated as port official, and ships with business in Texas used any convenient shore for landing and taking on goods. This condition continued until Stephen F. Austin petitioned that the port of Galveston be made a legal port of entry.


Bexar Archives, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Carlos E. Castañeda, Our Catholic Heritage in Texas (7 vols., Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1936–58; rpt., New York: Arno, 1976). Ohland Morton, Terán and Texas: A Chapter in Texas Mexican Relations (Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1948).


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

"PORT OF SAN BERNARD," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed October 04, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.