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COAHUILA AND TEXAS

COAHUILA AND TEXAS. In 1689–90 Alonso De León, governor of the Spanish province of Coahuila, extended his authority to include Texas. Early in 1691 he was succeeded by Domingo Téran de los Ríos, who was appointed governor of Coahuila and Texas. In 1693, however, Spain withdrew the Catholic missions from East Texas, and it was not until 1716 that Martín de Alarcón, who had been appointed governor of Coahuila in 1702, reextended his control over Texas. Alarcón was succeeded by the Marqués de Aguayo, whose activities resulted in the separation of the two provinces around 1726, during the time of his successor, Fernando Pérez de Almazán. The provinces were governed separately, with the capital of Texas at Los Adaes and that of Coahuila at Monclovaqv.

By the Constitution of 1824 the Mexican provinces of Nuevo León, Coahuila, and Texas were united as one state. Nuevo León was detached on May 7, 1824. A constituent congress was elected and assembled at Saltilloqv in August 1824, and a provisional governor was named for the state. A provisional chief was appointed for Texas in August 1824, and in December the Department of Texas was legally established as a subdivision of the state of Coahuila and Texas. The Constitution of Coahuila and Texas was adopted on March 11, 1827. The state was at first divided into three departments, but the number was eventually increased to seven: Saltillo, Parras, Monclova, Rosas, Bexar, Brazos, and Nacogdoches.

After some agitation Monclova replaced Saltillo as the capital of the state in March 1833. The legislature at Monclova passed several acts beneficial to Texas, creating new municipalities, dividing Texas into three departments, permitting the use of English in schools and public affairs, and allowing an additional representative from Texas. Also the Monclova government attempted to revise the judicial system, which had been particularly troublesome to Texans, by appointing Thomas J. Chambersqv superior judge of a three-district judicial circuit created for Texas, and by providing within this new system for trial by jury. Chambers was prevented from organizing the court system, however, by the ensuing difficulties in Coahuila.

When the Monclova legislature closed its session in April 1834, Coahuila lapsed into confusion. A rump meeting of the Monclova deputation in June declared against Antonio López de Santa Anna's Plan of Cuernavaca. In July, Saltillo formed a state government in opposition to the Monclova faction, annulled the acts of the previous legislature, and appointed José María Goribar as military governor. The time for elections arrived amid growing party hostility, but before any serious collision occurred, the rival governments submitted their case to Santa Anna for arbitration. The Mexican president ordered that Monclova remain the seat of government and that a new election should be held for the entire state. Elections were held, but trouble arose almost immediately, and in protest against a decree providing for the wasteful sale of public land in Texas the Saltillo faction withdrew from the newly elected legislature. The national government was petitioned to nullify the elections which, it was alleged, had been conducted illegally. Martín Perfecto de Cos, military commandant for the eastern division of the Provincias Internas, supported the Saltillo faction in a stand against the Texas land sales and ordered a company of federal troops to disband the legislature at Monclova. After decreeing that the governor had the authority to change capitals, the legislature hastily adjourned on April 21, 1835. Agustín Viesca then called out the militia with the object of reducing Saltillo and, when threatened by General Cos, resolved to make Bexar (San Antonio) the capital of the department. In this he was supported by a number of Texans, and on May 25, accompanied by about 150 militiamen and twenty-odd Texans, he left Monclova with the archives. The military was ordered to prevent his crossing the Rio Grande, and he returned to Monclova to attempt a secret withdrawal to Texas aided by Benjamin R. Milam and John Cameron.qqv The party was captured and imprisoned, but most of the men escaped and eventually reached Texas. Viesca and the remaining members of the legislature were arrested in Coahuila. José Miguel Falcón, who was appointed governor, was replaced on August 8 by Rafael Ecay Músquiz, but neither man served. Ramón Músquiz, the vice governor under Viesca, took over the governorship on June 28, 1835. This overthrow of constitutional government, together with the arrest of the incendiary Viesca, precipitated long-smoldering resistance in Texas and led to the Texas declaration against Santa Anna. In November 1835 the Consultation declared Texas a separate state under the Constitution of 1824 and formed a provisional government. The severance of Texas and Coahuila was made final by the Texas Revolution and the Mexican War.qqv

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Vito Alessio Robles, Coahuila y Texas en la época colonial (Mexico City: Editorial Cultura, 1938; 2d ed., Mexico City: Editorial Porrúa, 1978). Hubert Howe Bancroft, History of the North Mexican States and Texas (2 vols., San Francisco: History Company, 1886, 1889).

Citation

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

"COAHUILA AND TEXAS," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/usc01), accessed April 16, 2014. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.