Texas Day by Day

On this day in Texas history…


Domingo Terán de los Ríos appointed first governor of Texas

January 23rd, 1691

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On this day in 1691, the Conde de Gálvez appointed Domingo Terán de los Ríos the first governor of the Spanish province of Coahuila and Texas. Most historians consider the appointment the beginning of Texas as a political entity. Terán's instructions, prepared by a Junta de Hacienda acting under suggestions by Damián Massanet, were to establish seven missions among the Tejas Indians; to investigate rumors of foreign settlements on the coast; and to keep records of geography, natives, and products. Terán's army crossed the Rio Grande in May and explored East Texas as far as Caddo settlements on the Red River until December. By March 1692 Terán had returned to Matagorda Bay, where Juan Enríquez Barroto gave him instructions from the viceroy to explore the lower reaches of the Mississippi River. Bad weather caused Terán to abandon the project and return to Veracruz in April. Terán's mission proved to be a complete failure. He succeeded in founding no new missions, and the expedition added little new information about the region. After his return, Terán compiled a lengthy report, defending his actions and detailing the dismal situation in East Texas.

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