Thursday, 19 March 2015

The Maps of Peace and War.....It was not just a thing of chance, this Texas

The Centralist Republic with the separatist movements generated by the dissolution of the Federal Republic are coloured in light grey.
  Territory proclaimed its independency
  Territory claimed by the Republic of Texas
  Territory claimed by the Republic of the Rio Grande
The black-red areas were the groupings of colonies, counties, States, and  Indian peoples/tribes who were causing the Centralist Republicans the overall problem.   It still, to this day, has never been fully solved.   The Yucatan Peninsula with its majority population composed of various Maya Indian nations, coupled with the European cohort agreed that, with or without  the Peon / Hacienda system, the Yucatan is and was a separate cultural and political region of the Planet, and due to have its own government and choice of style and form of that government.   They, like the Texians and the colonial zones of mainly white people of the States of Zacatecas, Durango, and Texas's non-identical twin, Coahuuila were allied in many ways one with the other....first among the positions was the defence of the Mexican Constitucion de 1824.
     As displayed, what is marked as the Territory of the Republic of the Rio Grande is not of any intellectual, academic, or even historical import.  The writer will be jumped upon by people wearing baseball cleats and golf shoes, but it is simply the fact.   The RRG is the virtual definition of a Tempest in a Tea-pot.   To the extent that Zacatecas and Durango tried to breathe life into the issue was brought to a quick end by Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna with his brutal repression of the people and their defeat shortly before he began to move his armies further to the north.   It is thought that as many as 20,000 people, military and civilian, of that area were killed, frequently after surrendering or during "peace talks".  Equally rough treatment was dispensed to the Yucatan and its people.
     The area coloured in dark-grey, in the mind of any Mexican of the Centralist persuasion, was essentially a place of wild, sub-human, people-like things with a precious few isolated communities with a church and a few buildings.   There were fewer than 20,000 White men, about 200,000 Indians of six or more different languages and DNA models who chief life task was killing other Indians, killing White people, stealing horses, stealing White children especially blond girls aged 10 or less, killing priests, and other pursuits better left not included in this posting.  While some of this might be a bit of overstatement, it might well not be....the "American Southwest" was essentially the Spanish - Mexican "whatever & wherever".
     In the quest to establish a Central Authority, Lopez de Santa Anna had to disestablish the concept of sovereign States sewn together by a national Constitution that left the day-to-day operation of life, and the needs pertaining thereto, primarily to the care and attention of governments far removed from Mexico City. He, in all truth, wanted to establish a central throne with essentially a royal code.  There, resources could be concentrated and overseen so as to establish the World's most wondrous nation.  If there were troublesome things like elected governors who thought they were important or qualified to govern, it would make  El Presidente Generalissimo would be diminished.   It would be more difficult to establish oneself as the veritable "Napoleon del Oeste".
    This was the entire theatre that was being put into good order.

     Here, to the left, is the specific theatre of the issue between the Mexican Centralist actions and the wild, impulsive, dispersed, back-biting, conspiring, hot-headed, local-control geeks in the little, funny coloured, oddly shaped places on the map.

     The OROG should be warned that the map in question and view is actually a copy of an official map of the day.   Each of the funny coloured and oddly shaped places is an official Colony established and granted either by the Crown of Spain, or later...after around 1822 ....under the authority of the government of Mexico, based in the City of Mexico.
     The idea of the gnomes of government was to put Anglo-Saxons and other "norteamericanos" between the Kiowa, Kickapoo, Apache, and Comanche and the settlements, industries, cities, and interests that lay to the south and west of the Rio Grande.  Various empresarios obtained permits, patents, and authority to introduce Americans of good character into Mexico.  These individuals would head families that would be authorised to receive 1000 square leagues (about 4,500 acres) of tillable land, suitable for farming and or ranching.   Each man and his family would become, essentially, monarchs of tiny kingdoms, held together by the colony's very democratic governance that would cover the affairs of 10 or 20 thousand living souls.
     Conditions were few, but important.  All colonists would have to embrace the Roman Catholic Church as the official church.  All would have to be Spanish speaking, reading, and writing.  No slaves could be introduced or maintained in the state of slavery once having crossed the Sabine River or setting foot within Mexican national territory.  Usually colonies were required to tolerate open range on any property that had not been awarded to a colonist, until such time that a colonist did, in fact, establish his hearth upon his "legua cuadrada.
     One must consider that the average County in Texas to-day has about 1,000 square miles.  Also consider that each 1,000 square miles is about 1,000,000 acres.   So, one could imagine that a Colony the size of five or six present-day Texas Counties would have 5,000,000 acres or so.   Such an extension, with such generous proportions awarded to the colonists would not lead to the presence of large numbers of people.   Granted, professionals and proprietors, along with skilled service providers and paid help for the farming,. ranching, and whatever industry might occur would increase the number over the years, in terms of overall population.
     Also, it was not to be assumed that all the Colonies or all the different colonists of those Colonies were all "common brethren" or a band of brothers, all for one, one for all.   The bickering within the Colony's Assembly, the sniping, whining, blame-casting, and jockeying for advantage seemed almost to be a required sporting event.   Then, enter some dispute between the head of one Colony against the head of another  Colony, and it would make our Congressional relations in Washington, D.C. seem full of warmth and affection.
     A complete list of the various colonies is fairly easy to line up.  To speak to the interior and exterior relationships, the reality of life, the crops, the herds, business, birthing and death is substantially more complex, and more interesting.   For instance, the de Leon Colony, placed on what would later become the city of Victoria was surrounded by Irish colonists of the McMullen / McGwoin Colony.  These were Roman Catholic people by birthright.  But during the time of deteriorating relations between Mexico and the State officially known as Coahuila y Texas, the De Leon people were decidedly pro-Texian, although Mr. de Leon himself was a haughty Mexican aristocrat who considered the "Gaeles and Presbyterians" to be little better than somewhat bathed Vikings.
     When things were really at the point of igniting,  the Mexican colonists of the de Leon's Colony sided with the Constitutionalists while many of the Irish, mostly originals of Ireland and no friends of the Anglos, tended to side with the Mexican Centralist forces and thereby with Lopez de Santa Anna.
     Throughout Texas, various of the "Anglo" group either struck the tent or were active in their support of the Mexican Centralists.  Colonel Juan Bradburn comes to mind, along with a sizable community of merchants, doctors, and commodity traders in Santa Maria del Refugio - Matamoros.  There was even a staff officer among the Centralists with the surname of Washington.
    If I were to be forced to estimate, a figure of 18% comes to mind.  Another 25% probably went back to Alabama, Tennessee, or at least to Louisiana or Arkansas.   Of the Latin group, however, perhaps 15% of the males fled (some for very good reason), while another 15% aided in some manner or another the Centralist forces, and the other 70% sided with the Constitutionalist (anti-Lopez de Santa Anna) forces.
     If we rely too much on the male cohort of the affair, it is simply because the men were bold or cowardly, brash or brave and foolish.  The women simply did.   The women simply suffered.   To have had so little and build it up to so much...and the lose it all....and then build it back again.   It has happened in many times and places....but Texas and Hiroshima and Dresden and the Twin Towers....those things serve as lighthouses to the human drive to establish order from disorder.

     This submission is made so that folks will understand that this was not a matter of a bunch of people riding valiantly off to a beat-up old church in the middle of nowhere to take target practice on a bunch of Mexican soldiers dressed up like opera - props.   It also is designed to point out that the lands in Texas and the land tenure systems and processes were much more complicated than anyone could imagine after hearing only an overview drawn from the common understanding.    We are looking at over 20 Colonies, most of them aimed at importing foreign immigrants, primarily from the United States, then from Ireland, some from France and England, and some from mainly among the ranks of racially White Mexican citizens from the near or far interior of Mexico.   The "Angl0" group became a majority of the population in Texas, overwhelmingly by 1826.  Before their arrival, the population of Texas by racially white or mestizo Latins probably never exceeded 5,000 souls.
     And yes, when I come back from our place down in the Mountains (leaving to-morrow, by the way), we shall discuss the discord between various ethnic and racial groupings.   It is another story that is much more complicated than many might imagine, especially our hopelessly one-noted president.
Thank each, all, and any who passed a bit of time with this little glimpse into the past.
El Gringo Viejo