Spanish Colonial Unit Vocabulary

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Description

Vocabulary Terms

caste system
a social class structure determined by birth
Catholicism
the faith and practice of the Catholic church
colonization
the process of setting up a territory under the control of a distant country
Criollo
someone of Spanish descent
friar
a Catholic living under vows to God. In Texas, friars (along with priests and missionaries) attempted to spread the Catholic faith at the missions
Mestizo
someone of mixed Spanish and Native American heritage
mission
Spanish settlements designed to convert Native American tribes to Christianity
missionary
someone who is sent to spread religion in a foreign area or country
Peninsular
people born in Spain. They were typically at the top of the Spanish caste system
presidio
a Spanish fort or military outpost oftentimes designed to protect the missions
priest
leader or minister of a Catholic church
smallpox
a contagious disease that killed many American Indians during the establishment of Spanish missions
Tejano
someone of Mexican descent who considers Texas their home
Viceroy
representative who ruled one of Spain’s provinces in the Americas in the king’s name

Key People

Alonso de León
Spanish explorer and soldier who found Fort St. Louis abandoned and later helped establish the first Spanish mission in east Texas, San Francisco de los Tejas
Antonio Margil de Jesús
Spanish missionary who helped establish the relatively successful San José y San Miguel de Aguayo mission in San Antonio
Damián Massanet
Spanish priest who helped establish the first Spanish mission in East Texas, San Francisco de los Tejas
Francisco Hidalgo
Spanish priest who supported the establishment of missions in east Texas. His work and attempts to get the French involved with the missions led to permanent European occupation of Texas

Major Events

First Missions in East Texas
In 1690, a soldier named Alonso de Leon and a priest named Damian Mazanet led a party of soldiers and priests into Texas in order to establish missions near the Caddos, in a region that was inaccessible by sea and at least 600 miles away from any other Spanish settlement. They established two missions near Nacogdoches. Mazanet wanted only a handful of soldiers to stay in the area so relations between the natives and friars weren’t undermined. The missions quickly fell apart and the Caddos forced the friars out

Founding of:

San Antonio - 1718
La Bahia (Goliad) - 1722
San Saba Mission - 1757

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The page was updated on 09/26/2022.

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