Texas in 1834

Colonel Almonte & The Smoking Gun

By the early 1830s the Mexican government was beginning to worry about Texas.

The plan to colonize that big, empty territory with industrious Norte Americanos was working a little too well, and high officials were wondering if the whole thing might backfire.

So in 1833 they sent Colonel Juan Almonte on an inspection tour to find out what was going on. Upon his return, in late 1834, he wrote a secret report laying out what it would take to hold on to Texas.

With his report he included this map by cartographer David H. Burr, showing all the lands Mexico had granted to empresarios in the colonization scheme.

To Almonte it was exhibit A, the smoking gun, the reason to panic. It showed that nearly all of Texas, except the San Antonio River valley, had been given over to the settlement of American colonists.

A little over a year later, when Santa Anna set out to crush the rebellious Tejanos and Texians, General Vicente Filisola carried a copy of this map with him to plan the route of his army.

An Important Historical Document

Burr’s map of Texas is considered one of the two most important maps of Texas produced before independence. It documents the explosion of immigration into Texas, showing the seventeen huge empresario land grants.

The map includes a vignette of Galveston Bay produced by Lieutenant Alexander Thompson of the Mexican Navy in 1828. At the upper left corner of this vignette is the piece of ground that would soon be known as the Field of San Jacinto.

That’s where Colonel Almonte would be captured by the victorious Texian Army on April 21, 1836, and his worst nightmares about Texas became fact.


General Filisola** had one of those empresario grants himself. His contract called for him to settle 600 families in East Texas. Some conspiracy minded folks have speculated that one reason he obeyed Santa Anna’s order to retreat is that he knew this grant would have much more value in an independent Texas.


The best case for strong immigration controls… Look what happens to the original owners of the place when we show up .


Original owners were the native American’s not Mexicans or Spaniards…another thing a lot of the white settlers came in illegally, your case and point about illegal immigration.


What happens is it lead to formation of a country, or a great country, or the greatest country ever,
depending on individuals point of view. I see it as just an evolutionary process that happens.
Some times the changes lead to demise of a country , sometimes it doesn’t, sometimes a new and “improved” country . Too much
infusion too fast, and the host country may see erosion of its values, morals, culture, laws, and institutions. It will not survive as is, but morph into something less or , very small probability, something better. History judges the outcome; we are too wrapped up in our biases and tribalism to accurately see what is happening in real-time. I think a lot of white Americans live
in a certain degree of concern about this happening, and will be resistant to change.

Original owners were the native American’s not Mexicans or Spaniards…another thing a lot of the white settlers came in illegally, your case and point about illegal immigration.

Pretty sure my German ancestors came in this way. On mother’s side kept their native language spoken in the home. I recall a grandmother speaking broken English, but their children
completely morphed into White Americans and pretty much tossed the ancestral heritage.

I hope my reply will not hijack this thread started by the OP into another uncivilized discussion
on immigration. Not my intentions. But welcome the OP to redirect if I crossed a line away
from lessons of Texas history.