United States
Texas in 19th century
United States

Although Spain had claimed Texas for more than 300 years, during that time the Spanish had established only three settlements between the Río Grande and the Sabine rivers: San Antonio, Goliad, and Nacogdoches. Spanish officials realized that more settlers were needed to prevent other countries from trying to claim the land. In 1820 Moses Austin, a United States citizen, asked the Spanish government in Mexico for permission to settle in Texas. Austin died soon after making his request, but his son, Stephen Fuller Austin, was permitted to continue with the project in 1821.

From 1821 to 1836 the population of Texas increased from about 4,000 to between 35,000 and 50,000 people. Most of the immigrants were from the southern United States. They only pretended to be Catholic, as the agreement required, and they spoke English, had little respect for authority, and refused toassimilate.

Most importantly, they brought black slaves with them to cultivate cotton. Mexicans, having fought only recently for their freedom from Spain, opposed slavery. In 1829 Mexico outlawed slavery. The Anglo-Americans were worried about promised land titles, and as population increased, they wanted to be separate from the Mexican state of Tejas y Coahuila, to which Texas had been joined. Mexican officials, however, were usually too busy with internal political problems to give much attention to the new settlers.

In 1826 the Fredonian Rebellion, a short-lived attempt by a small group of Anglo-Americans in Texas to create the independent Republic of Fredonia, increased Mexican suspicion that settlers were not loyal to Mexico.

Realizing that there were more Anglo-Americans in Texas than Mexicans, the Mexican government stationed Mexican troops there, and passed a law that restricted further Anglo-American immigration and prohibited the importation of slaves. In October 1832 a convention of Anglo-Americans met at San Felipe de Austin and petitioned for the repeal of the law. Stephen Fuller Austin, who at first urged the colonists to remain loyal to Mexico, was sent to Mexico City to present the petition, and after several months he was assured that Mexico would take action. However, when a letter he had written advising Anglo-Americans to organize a separate state fell into Mexican hands, he was arrested and spent almost two years in prison. In 1835 Austin returned to Texas, by then convinced that using force

Fredonian Rebellion
Fredonian Rebellion
to obtain independence was justified. Encarta
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