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Canary Islands Descendants Association

San Antonio, Texas

March 9, 1731

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The marker reads:

Earliest Civilian Colonist of San Antonio.  This nucleus of pioneers from the Canary Islands formed the first organized civil government in Texas and founded the Village of San Fernando de Bexar in 1731.

Following a sea and land voyage of over a year. These weary travelers arrived at the Presidio (fort) of San Antonio early on March 9, 1731.  Totaling 55 persons, they had emigrated to Texas from the Spanish Canary Islands near Africa, by order of King Philip V.

On July 2 they began to lay out a villa (village, choosing a site on the west side of the Plaza de Las Yslas (Present main Plaza) for the church and a site on the east side of the Casa Real (Government Building).  On July 19 the Captain of the Presidio Juan Antonio De Almazan, read to the Islanders the Decree of the Viceroy naming them and their descendants “Hijos Dalgo” - persons of nobility.

The heads of the 16 families who settled in San Antonio were: Juan Leal Goraz, Juan Curbelo, Juan Leal, Antonio Santos, Jose Padron, Manuel de Nis, Vicente Alvarez Travieso, Salvador Rodriguez, Jose Leal, Juan Delgado, Jose Cabrera, Juan Rodriguez Granadillo, Francisco Arocha, Antonio Rodriguez, Lorenzo and Martin de Armas, and Felipe and Jose Antonio Perez.

The Canary Islanders Market

The Canary Islanders Marker

Marker located on Main Plaza in front of the Bexar County Courthouse.

Marker #702, erected in 1971 by the State Historical Survey Committee

Main Plaza was originally called  

Plaza De Las Yslas

Corrections to the Marker:

The heads of the sixteen families are misstated on this marker. Lorenzo and Martin de Armas and Felipe and Jose Antonio Perez were four single men listed as the sixteenth family. Omitted from the marker are Maria Rodriguez-Provayna, widow of Juan Rodriguez Granadillo, head of the fourteenth family and Mariana Meleano, widow of Lucas Delgado, head of the fifteenth family. Juan Rodriguez Granadillo and Lucas Delgado died in Vera Cruz, shortly after their arrival in New Spain.

Canary Islands Descendants Association

San Antonio, Texas

Message from the President


Just as recently as 2013, I first became interested in my family genealogy. Of course living in San Antonio for most of my life, I had heard about a people of Spanish origin who came to this region we call Texas. But that was many years after my early education. To the best of my recollection, the Canary Islanders were not mentioned in my 1960’s elementary, junior or high school history classes. As I delved more into my family history, I wanted to suddenly know more about these Canary Islanders. Who were they? Why did they choose to come to Texas and what did they contribute? I soon discovered that my ancestors were, indeed, part of those brave immigrants that traveled here in the early eighteenth century, and I was delighted to find that they contributed greatly to the cultural heritage of San Antonio.


Today, it is not hard to find and read the rich history and many stories of the Spanish Canary Islanders (Islenos) in history books, articles and other publications. Their most notable and significant contribution in 1731 was establishing the first civil government in Texas when it was then known as New Spain. But their individual stories are so interesting! We now know so much about these hardy people and how they lived and survived. We, the descendants, owe them so much. And we need to remember and tell their story so that the contributions they made will never be forgotten.

 

Our association helps keep that memory alive. We host a number of annual events throughout the year to celebrate the date they first arrived, their patron saint, Our Lady of Candelaria, and other events that were significant in the history of the Canary Islanders. I invite you to join our association. If you know or believe that your ancestors originally settled here in the early eighteenth century, we would welcome the opportunity of guiding you in your search. And, of course, we hope that you would join our group as a Direct Descendant of the Canary Islanders.


Hector Pacheco

President

Canary Islands Descendants Association


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