Chief Executives of Texas: From Stephen F. Austin to John B. Connally, Jr.

By Kenneth E. Hendrickson Jr. | Go to book overview

Chapter one
COLONIZATION 1821-36

Although a few settlers drifted into Spanish Texas early in the nineteenth century, organized colonization did not begin until 1820, when Moses Austin of Potosi, Missouri, secured a land grant from the Spanish governor in San Antonio. Moses died in 1821, and his son, Stephen Fuller Austin, saw to it that his plan for colonization was carried out.

After separating from the Spanish Empire, Mexico encouraged colonization by enacting the National Colonization Law of 1824, which offered very attractive terms to settlers. They could acquire sizable tracts of land for a small capital outlay, and they were exempted from taxes for ten years and from tariffs for seven. Over the next several years, a number of contracts similar to that enjoyed by Austin were granted to the so-called empresarios, but few were as successful as Austin's.

Nevertheless, the colonization policy was successful enough that

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