Domingo Terán de los Ríos appointed first governor of Texas

January 23rd, 1691

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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Domingo Terán de los Ríos appointed first governor of Texas

January 23rd, 1691

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.

«   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
Get your Texas Day by Day delivered straight to your inbox: