The San Antonio Missions and their System of Land Tenure

The San Antonio Missions and their System of Land Tenure

by Félix D. Almaráz

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Overview

The San Antonio Missions and their System of Land Tenure by Félix D. Almaráz

San Antonio, Texas, is unique among North American cities in having five former Spanish missions: San Antonio de Valero (The Alamo; founded in 1718), San José y San Miguel de Aguayo (1720), Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción de Acuña (1731), San Juan Capistrano (1731), and San Francisco de la Espada (1731). These missions attract a good deal of popular interest but, until this book, they had received surprisingly little scholarly study. The San Antonio Missions and Their System of Land Tenure, a winner in the Presidio La Bahía Award competition, looks at one previously unexamined aspect of mission history—the changes in landownership as the missions passed from sacred to secular owners in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

Drawing on exhaustive research in San Antonio and Bexar County archives, Félix Almaráz has reconstructed the land tenure system that began with the Spaniards' jurisprudential right of discovery and progressed through colonial development, culminating with ownership of the mission properties under successive civic jurisdictions (independent Mexico, Republic of Texas, State of Texas, Bexar County, and City of San Antonio). Several broad questions served as focus points for the research. What were the legal bases for the Franciscan missions as instruments of the Spanish Empire? What was the extent of the initial land grants at the time of their establishment in the eighteenth century? How were the missions' agricultural and pastoral lands configured? And, finally, what impact has urbanization had upon the former Franciscan foundations?

The findings in this study will be valuable for scholars of Texas borderlands and Hispanic New World history. Additionally, genealogists and people with roots in the San Antonio missions area may find useful clues to family history in this extensive study of landownership along the banks of the Río San Antonio.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780292739789
Publisher: University of Texas Press
Publication date: 04/01/2012
Pages: 120
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Félix D. Almaráz, Jr., is Professor of History at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • I. The Mission’s Unique Role in a Spanish Frontier Society
  • II. Land Tenure Exchange
  • III. The Missions and Their Lands
  • IV. Twilight of the Mission Lands
  • Appendixes
    • A. Registry of Land Grants, Irrigation Rights, and Assessed Fees and Payments at Mission San José
    • B. Appraisal of Houses and Outer Wall at Mission San Juan Capistrano
    • C. Summary of Land Grants, Irrigation Rights, and Subsequent Conveyances at Mission San Juan Capistrano
    • D. Registry of Land Grants, Irrigation Rights, and Assessed Fees and Payments at Mission San Juan Capistrano
    • E. Land Grants at Secularized Mission San Juan Capistrano
    • F. Summary of Purchases and Accounts of Conveyed Structures at Mission San Juan Capistrano
    • G. Appraisal of Houses at Mission San Francisco de la Espada
    • H. Summary of Purchases and Accounts of Conveyed Structures at Mission San Francisco de la Espada
    • I. Registry of Land Grants, Irrigation Rights, and Assessed Fees and Payments at Mission San Francisco de la Espada
  • Notes
  • Glossary
  • Bibliography
  • Index

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