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Advocate editorial board opinion: City was capital of Martin De León's colony

By the Advocate Editorial Board
April 8, 2011 at 8:01 p.m.
Updated April 8, 2011 at 11:09 p.m.


It's not often that a city can celebrate its origins with the extended family of its founder. But Victoria, founded by Martin De León in 1824 as the capital of his colony, is fortunate to host the De León reunion, which promises more than 360 descendants of the empresario staying for the three-day event.

We are aware of one monument that recognizes Martin De León, as well as others in his colony that was formed around Victoria. That monument is the La Calle De Los Diez Amigos located in the 600 block of Main Street. Main Street's first name was La Calle De Los Diez - the Street of 10 Friends - and was where De León's friends lived.

According to the marker, the 10 friends included Martin De León and nine others of his colonists: Fernando De León, Valentin Garcia, Pedro Gallardo, Rafael Manchola, Leonardo Manso, J.M.J. Carvajal, Julian De La Garza, Placido Benavides and Silvestre De León.

The 10 friends "directed the defense, commerce and general development of early Victoria," the marker's inscription states.

Mexico contracted with "empresarios," or entrepreneurial managers ( De León was the only Mexican empresario to fulfill his contract), to colonize Texas, a vast territory that was home to hostile American Indians. The majority of the other empresarios were Irish.

We are happy that De León is remembered by the Street of 10 Friends marker. But commissioning an artist to create a statue of De León would be really appropriate to honor De León's historical significance to Victoria. The city's founder should be memorialized in this manner.

On another note, we welcome all the descendants of Martin De León to Victoria, and we hope you find our city warm and comfortable.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.

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