Friday, June 3, 2016

Santa Rosa del Alcazar and Orcoquisac

     Texas in the 1740's was claimed by Spain but was virtually, to them, an uncharted wilderness containing only a small civil and military complex at San Antonio and a fort called La Bahia on the lower Guadalupe River.   French traders appeared along the upper coast and Spain reacted, fearful for its lands and possessive about its trading rights with the Indians.  Expeditions were sent in the 1740's to reconnoiter the unknown lands and to drive away any intruders.  A decade later, reports arrived of renewed French trading activities, and this time Spain decided to occupy the region.  A presidio and a mission called Orcoquisac were founded on the lower Trinity River.  Plans were approved to found a civil settlement of 50 families at a location named Santa Rosa del Alcazar, and to move the presidio and mission to this new site.  It was to become a 'second San Antonio' in Southeast Texas.
     Plans for Santa Rosa were abandoned in 1763 when Spain acquired Louisiana from France, thus eliminating the immediate threat of a foreign power usurping Spanish rights in Texas.  The Orcoquisac presidio and mission were closed in 1771 in a cost-cutting move; they were no longer needed to protect the frontier.  Had Santa Rosa been built, it would have created a lasting Spanish presence in the region.  Spain would have probably been unlikely to offer vacant lands in this part of Texas to American colonists.  Build Santa Rosa, and Austin's Colony may never have became a reality!   
     New research has revealed the location of the planned site of Santa Rosa, and the roads that connected Orcoquisac with San Antonio.  Click on the following link to learn about this fascinating chapter in Texas history!  

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