The Spanish Missions in Texas

In Texas, missions were built only with official Spanish approval. Usually soldiers were stationed at nearby presidios for protection. In all there were about 35 missions built in Texas.

The Franciscan friars were given responsibility for all the Texas missions.

The soldiers in the presidios provided protection for the Spanish missions and nearby settlements, but the soldiers who lived at the presidios were often a source of trouble with the Indians and they were often in conflict with the friars. Therefore, there was a constant debate over whether to place the presidio close enough to the mission to provide quick protection during attack or far enough away to keep the soldiers from bothering the mission Indians.

The general purpose of the missions was to convert the Indians to Christianity, and to teach them crafts and agricultural techniques. Once these goals were met, the mission was to be “secularized”; that is, the church was to be run by local priests who did not belong to a religious order. The land was to be turned over to the Christianized Indians.

By 1830 the last missions in Texas were secularized.

Source: The Spanish Missions in Texas

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