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The path of Texas from early colonization to statehood has always been filled with events important to American history as a whole.
The first humans to inhabit the land were Native Americans. Over 30,000 Native American tribes roamed the land1. One tribe, the Caddos, were known for not only being a peaceful tribe, but for their distinctive tattoos and clothing2. It is believed that the very word “Texas” can be traced back to Native Americans, as the word “Tejas” is thought to be the Spanish translation for the Caddo word “friend”3. However, the Native Americans of Texas history were not allowed to live peacefully, as Europe soon came in to colonize their lands.
The first country to colonize Texas was Spain. In 1519 Alonzo Alvarez de Pineda made a map of the Texas coastline, allowing Spain to establish its first foothold4. In 1528, Spanish conquistador Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca came to what is now Texas in search of “cities of gold”5. However, the land was not formally claimed for Spain until 1598, and the first permanent Spanish settlement and mission, Corpus Christi de la Isleta, took another eighty-four years to be formed6. Once this was done, Spain would not be forced away from them until hundreds of years in the future.
The main objectives for the Spanish were gold and population growth. No amount of gold was ever found, and many lost their lives while looking for the wealth they believed to be in the area7. In 1682, permanent Spanish missions were established by priests to convert the local Native American population to Christianity8. The belief behind this was that converting the Native American population would strengthen the position of Spain in the New World9. Though the priests tried their best, their actions were hampered by the death rate of Native Americans upon being exposed to European diseases10. This did not deter the Spanish from building
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