Date of Degree
PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Contrary to Texas Ranger myth, Stephen F. Austin's settlers were not the first Texas Rangers to ride across Texas. As early as the 1540s, almost three hundred years before Austin arrived in Texas, mounted Spanish subjects on the frontiers of northern New Spain ranged, scouted, pursued, and waged offensive war against Chichimeca enemies. These methods were employed and accepted actions on the hostile frontier, and were also the characteristics Texans so highly revere in Ranger traditional lore. Several of these colonial military and ranching families from Nuevo Leon and Coahuila, settled Texas in the first half of the 18th century. They intermarried and developed kinship bonds and were community leaders. In the 1820s, and 1830s Spanish surnamed descendants of early military men and ranchers became acquainted with newly arrived Anglo-European settlers. Friendships and alliances were forged based on political ideology and even kinship. As the winds of rebellion blew, several of the leading military and ranching families chose to fight for Independence in the Army of the Republic. They also joined the ranks of the Republic of Texas Rangers, and finally the Texas Rangers. Despite their loyalty, they lost political powers as more Anglo-Europeans arrived. Tejanos lost property, status and ultimately their right to be identified as Texas Rangers.
The object of this work is to contribute a small piece to the literature regarding the development and evolution of ranging traditions from a southern to northern frontier perspective. The military and law enforcement traditions of colonial era New Spanish soldiers and ranchers were passed on to their Tejano descendants through continuous participation in ranging and ranching activities within their communities. Tejanos participated in the Independence of Texas, the Republic Rangers and the Texas Rangers throughout the 19th century, and based on connections with Anglo settlers may have taught Anglos mounted ranging technique, and how to survive on the Texas frontier.
Copyright 2012 Aminta Inelda Perez
Perez, Aminta Inelda. "Tejano Rangers: The Development and Evolution of Ranging Tradition, 1540-1880." PhD diss., University of Iowa, 2012.