Spanish explorer names the Nueces

April 4th, 1689

On this day in 1689, Spanish explorer and governor Alonso De León, marching from Coahuila in response to news of a French settlement in Texas, crossed a river in what is now Dimmit or Zavala County which he named Río de las Nueces ("River of Nuts") for the pecan trees growing along its banks. The Nueces River, although not explored in its entirety until the eighteenth century, was the first Texas river to be given a prominent place on European maps. It is identifiable as the Río Escondido ("Hidden River"), which first appeared on a 1527 map attributed to Diogo Ribeiro, signifying the obscure location of the river mouth behind its barrier island. It was to this river that René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle--confused by the period's inadequate maps--sailed in 1685, believing that it was the Mississippi. De León discovered the remains of La Salle's Fort St. Louis on Garcitas Creek eighteen days after crossing the Nueces.

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Spanish explorer names the Nueces

April 4th, 1689

On this day in 1689, Spanish explorer and governor Alonso De León, marching from Coahuila in response to news of a French settlement in Texas, crossed a river in what is now Dimmit or Zavala County which he named Río de las Nueces ("River of Nuts") for the pecan trees growing along its banks. The Nueces River, although not explored in its entirety until the eighteenth century, was the first Texas river to be given a prominent place on European maps. It is identifiable as the Río Escondido ("Hidden River"), which first appeared on a 1527 map attributed to Diogo Ribeiro, signifying the obscure location of the river mouth behind its barrier island. It was to this river that René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle--confused by the period's inadequate maps--sailed in 1685, believing that it was the Mississippi. De León discovered the remains of La Salle's Fort St. Louis on Garcitas Creek eighteen days after crossing the Nueces.

«   Previous Next   »

Related Handbook of Texas Articles

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With more than 27,000 articles about Texas history, the Texas State Historical Association's Handbook of Texas is the largest online encyclopedia about all things Texas. Now you can celebrate the history of Texas every day by activating your free subscription to Texas Day by Day. Each day's email tells a little bit more of the story of Texas and links to our collection of more than 27,000 articles. It's one of the best ways to learn more about Texas history — in only 15 minutes a day!

Activate your free subscription to Texas Day by Day and you can:

  • Explore Texas history each day in bite-sized pieces conveniently delivered to your inbox each morning
  • Astound your friends with your Texas history prowess
  • Get in-depth looks at some of the overlooked events and landmarks in Texas history
  • Discover new places to explore in the Lone Star State
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