Hispanic Heritage Seen Through the Murals of New Braunfels | Community alert

National Hispanic Heritage Month began on September 15 and ends today, October 15. Locally, we are lucky. We have the perfect reminder of Hispanic heritage through a mural provided by the Historic Outdoor Art Museum from which to learn, appreciate and appreciate. The mural “El Legado de Nuestra Jornada” (The Legacy of Our Journey) is painted on the exterior side wall of the Comal Flower Shop which faces the main square. The accompanying plaque written by Barron Schlameus assisted by Robert Camareno reveals that the mural is a chronological theme of Hispanic heritage dating from the years 1680 to 1845.

Among the many historical points of interest noted: The legacy began with the Spanish expeditions along “El Camino Real” (the royal road) which served as a main artery for trade, commerce and colonization.

Comal Springs’ first recorded name was “Las Fontanas” (The Fountains).

After the Spanish introduced cattle and horses to the New World, the Mexican ranch culture of vaqueros (cowboys) was introduced to South Texas with chaperas (chaps), rodears (rodeo), rodeos in silver, spurs and branding irons.

As mentioned before, the plaque inspired us to research Hispanic history, as did the comments of our outstanding elementary school principal Carl Schurz, Curt Schmidt, who said that the history of Mexico was one of the most interesting of all nations. Here is some of what we found:

In 1519, when Hernan Cortez and his men, representing the King of Spain, landed on the eastern shore of the Aztec Empire we know as Mexico, they were able to defeat the Aztecs with the help of the Tlascalan tribe. The conquered region was then known as New Spain.

Members of the Aztecs and Tlascalans were civilized just like the Mayans and Incas. Over time, there were marriages between Spanish soldiers and Tlascalan women. This racial mixture was called “mestizo”.

“Legacy of Our Journey” mural, right side. Photo by Elizabeth Barker

The Tlascalan later became an important factor in the Spanish colonization of northern Mexico. In 1591, four hundred Tlascalan and Aztec families settled in Saltillo in Coahuila.

Leading the first settlers in the province of Texas, Captain Don Domingo Ramon in 1716 with an expedition of 65 civilians from the Saltillo area.

To protect the interests of New Spain, a buffer zone was created in the province of Texas mainly by Spanish soldiers, mestizos and Tlascalans. In Texas they became known as Tejanos. Buffers were located at Nacogdoches in East Texas, Bexar (San Antonio) and Goliad in South Texas in addition to ranch country between the Nueces River and the Rio Grande.

Among the many important contributions made to Texas by the Tejanos was the “compania volante” (the flying squadron). They were the group that served as the precursor to the Texas Rangers. The first “flying company” to arrive in Texas came from southern Coahuila and reported for permanent military service at Mission Valero around 1803. The troops were mostly Tlascalans and numbered 241, including women and children . In the years after the Texas Ranger, Captain John Coffee Hays learned the “flying compania” from the Tejanos.

Another major contribution of Tejanos was to the American ranching and mustang industries of cattle, sheep, and goats, all of which originated in southern Texas. The 1800s Tejano ranch where ranching was done was a family business operated on state-claimed land, although the state changed several times over the century. Some Tejanos had land grants from the Crown of Spain which they received to settle the frontera (border). Mexico gained independence from Spain in 1821; therefore, the land grants then came from the Republic of Mexico. When Texas became a republic in 1836, land grants in southern Texas came from the Republic of Texas. There were even land grants from the Civil War period when Texas was part of the Confederacy. These grants were awarded for service to the Confederacy.

In 1825, Tejano Jose Antonio Navarro, as land commissioner, granted five leagues of land to his compatriot Tejano Juan Martin de Veramendi. In these leagues are Comal Springs. Prince Carl of Solms Braunfels, in 1845, purchased 1,265 acres from the Veramendi heirs for a “way station” as a first stop for newly arrived German immigrants en route to the Fisher-Miller Grant. This “way station” became the “Beauty Spot of Texas”, New Braunfels and will forever be part of Hispanic heritage.

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