Hispanic heritage shapes area
Sept. 15, 2010 at 4:15 a.m.
Updated Sept. 22, 2010 at 4:22 a.m.
Thursday marks the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month.
While it is well known the influence early Hispanics had on the area, Hispanics continue to shape the history of the region.
Here are 10 facts about Hispanic heritage in the Crossroads area, some well known and some not.
1. Did you know that Victoria is not the original name for our city?
Victoria was founded in 1805 by Martin De Leon as Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe de Jesus Victoria, generally referred to as Guadalupe Victoria. After the Texas Revolution, the community was simply known as Victoria.
The boundaries of DeLeon's colony included parts of current day Jackson, Calhoun, DeWitt and Victoria counties, located roughly between the lower Guadalupe River and the Lavaca River.
2. Did you know that Victoria's Main Street used to go by a different name?
Martin DeLeon's first task was to plan his city. Apparently, DeLeon's best friends lived on the present-day Main Street because it was originally named La Calle de Diez Amigos - "The Street of Ten Friends."
3. Did you know that several locations in the Crossroads area have names derived from the Spanish language?
Some examples are:
n Cuero - leather
n Lavaca (Port Lavaca, Lavaca County) - The cow
n Refugio - Refuge, shelter
n Rio Grande - Big river
n Presidio La Bahia - Fortess of the bay
4. Did you know that Hispanic Heritage month actually starts on Sept. 15?
Sept. 15 was chosen as the starting point for the celebration because it is the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries - Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua - all declared independence in 1821.
In addition, Mexico, Chile and Belize celebrate their independence days on Sept. 16, Sept. 18 and Sept. 21, respectively.
5. Did you know Goliad is commonly known as the "Birthplace of Texas Ranching"?
Goliad has called itself the "Birthplace of Texas Ranching" since at least 1999, the date of the 250th anniversary of a Spanish mission in that city. The Mission Espiritu Santo - now reconstructed at Goliad State Park- was the largest cattle ranching operation in Texas in the 18th century.
Espíritu Santo is traditionally recognized as the first great cattle ranch in Texas.
6.Did you know that Alonso de Leon, a Spanish explorer and governor who led several expeditions into the area that is now northeastern Mexico and southern Texas, named many of the rivers of Texas?
Some of the rivers De Leon named included the Guadalupe, Nueces, Hondo, Medina, Colorado, the Brazos de Dios (Brazos), and the La Santisima Trinidad (Trinity), though the position of some have gotten confused in later maps.
7. Did you know that a famous general in the Mexican Army was born in Goliad?
Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín, best known for his unlikely defeat of invading French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862 (Cinco de Mayo), was born in la Bahía del Espíritu Santo in what was then the Mexican state of Coahuila y Tejas, now the city of Goliad. The Zaragoza family moved to Matamoros in 1834 and then to Monterrey in 1844.
His famous quote, "Las armas nacionales se han cubierto de gloria" ("The national arms have been covered with glory") is used to remember the battle.
Did you know that Cuero elected its first Hispanic mayor in 2008?
Randy Saenz was born on April 1, 1973 in Cuero. He was first elected to the Cuero City Council in May 2000. He did not seek re-election in the May election.
9. Did you know De Leon Plaza used to go by another name?
De Leon Plaza, originally known as "Plaza de la Constitucion," was one of four public squares set-aside by colony founder Martin de Leon. The plaza is filled with local monuments and memorials, shade trees, a band stand, and information about the Six Flags over Texas.
10. Did you know that a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case for Hispanic rights originated in Edna?
Gustavo "Gus" C. Garcia, along with fellow attorney Carlos Cadena, argued the landmark case Hernández v. Texas (1954). The case argued for the end of a practice of systematic exclusion of Hispanics from jury service in Jackson County. The high court, led by Chief Justice Earl Warren, ruled that United States citizens could not be excluded from jury duty based on national origin because such exclusion denied the accused a jury of his peers.
www.texasalmanac.com/history/highlights/cattle/Victoria resident Blanche DeLeon, descendant of Alonso De Leon.