The circus comes to town!

November 8th, 1852

On this day in 1852, the first recorded mention of the distinctive Mexican circus in Texas appeared in the San Antonio Ledger. Though the performing groups may have been in Texas prior to this date, this newspaper report marked the first documentation of the circuses in the Lone Star State. The Mexican circuses evolved over the years from sixteenth-century performers called voladores (flyers) and Spanish minstrels and jugglers to include maromeros (acrobats) by the seventeenth century and dramatic performers in the eighteenth century. By the time they got to Texas, the Mexican circuses had incorporated Italian, English, and American influences, including the English clown. Carpas (tent circuses) proved popular into the twentieth century throughout the Rio Grande Valley and South and Central Texas, and several companies made San Antonio their home base. The carpas, often family-based, delivered commentary on Tejano social life and influenced the development of Mexican-American theater.

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The circus comes to town!

November 8th, 1852

On this day in 1852, the first recorded mention of the distinctive Mexican circus in Texas appeared in the San Antonio Ledger. Though the performing groups may have been in Texas prior to this date, this newspaper report marked the first documentation of the circuses in the Lone Star State. The Mexican circuses evolved over the years from sixteenth-century performers called voladores (flyers) and Spanish minstrels and jugglers to include maromeros (acrobats) by the seventeenth century and dramatic performers in the eighteenth century. By the time they got to Texas, the Mexican circuses had incorporated Italian, English, and American influences, including the English clown. Carpas (tent circuses) proved popular into the twentieth century throughout the Rio Grande Valley and South and Central Texas, and several companies made San Antonio their home base. The carpas, often family-based, delivered commentary on Tejano social life and influenced the development of Mexican-American theater.

«   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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