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LOS ADAES, TEXAS

Capital of the Province of Texas from 1721 to 1773

Ghost Town” since 1773
LA 485
12 Miles SW of Natchitoches
Los Adaes LA State Park - Los Adais historical marker
Los Adais Historical Marker
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, April 2010

Los Adaes, Texas

Named for a friendly group of Indians, this all-but-forgotten capital of Texas – remains in place - in Louisiana.

The purpose of the Spanish in forming Los Adaes was to check the encroachment of the French into Spanish territory. This plan called for the pairing of a fort (presidio) with a mission. The military protected the mission and the mission fed the garrison – through the farming efforts of the Indians – whose souls were being saved by the priests.
Los Adaes LA State Park
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, April 2010
In this particular case the fort was the Nuestra Señora del Pilar Presidio and the mission was named San Miguel de Linares de los Adaes. The Adaes Indians were sworn enemies of the Lipan Apaches – constant thorns in the side of Spanish settlement in western Texas.
Presidio Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Los Adais historical marker
Presidio Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Los Adais Historical Marker
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, April 2010
Los Adaes LA State Park
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, April 2010
Initial founding of the settlement (by Domingo Ramon) occurred in 1717 but the site was abandoned two years later when the French showed signs of aggression. Reestablishment occurred in 1721 near present-day Robeline, Louisiana. The man in charge was the Marques de Aguayo. Aguayo established the presidio and reoccupied the abandoned mission.

His work done, Aguayo left to pursue other duties, leaving a detachment of 100 mounted troops to protect a handful of Franciscan priests. The “success” of Los Adaes resulted in its being declared the capital of Texas in 1729 by the Spanish Viceroy.

That same year the garrison was reduced from 100 to 60 troops – in a cost saving measure. The friendly Indians protected the settlement from the hostiles, although they resisted living at the mission, preferring to live in scattered villages. In 1768 the overseeing College of Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe de Zacatecas acknowledged its difficulties by abandoning all missionary efforts.

Los Adaes and other Spanish settlements in East Texas were so isolated and distant from New Spain – that they were forced to trade with the French at Natchitoches – the enemies they were sent to blockade. Even the Spanish acknowledged that it was easier to trade (foodstuffs) with the French than to supply their thinly-stretched colonists.

Over time trade in other goods developed – despite the frowns of Spanish officials – and Los Adaes became virtually dependent upon the French settlement.

In 1762 French Louisiana was transferred to New Spain and ten years later the capital of Texas was transferred to the slightly-less-distant San Antonio de Béxar (present-day San Antonio).

The estimated 500 residents of Los Adaes were ordered to relocate. Some moved and some never left. The Adaesans eventually gravitated back the region and lifestyle they had grown to love and established what would become Nacogdoches.

Related Articles:
The First Texas Capital by Bob Bowman

Los Adaes by Archie P. McDonald

El Camino Real De Los Tejas Historical Marker
El Camino Real De Los Tejas Historical Marker
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, April 2010
Los Adaes State Historic Site, LA
Los Adaes State Historic Site
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, April 2010

Take a road trip

Los Adaes, Texas Nearby Towns:
Nacogdoches

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Los Adaes - Texas Escapes' 2500th Town, June 29, 2010

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