Tejano Flying Squadron

The compania volante Tejano Flying Squadron predated the Texas Rangers. By artist Theodore Gentilz.

 

Have you spent any time studying and enjoying the Hispanic mural on the outside wall of the Comal Flower Shop on Main Plaza? Like all the murals done by our Historic Outdoor Art Museum, it’s a meaningful beauty. The mural was created by muralist Alex Rubio of Blue Star Contemporary of San Antonio and his students.

In addition, the plaque accompanying the mural is titled “El Legado de Nuestra Jornada” (“The Legacy of Our Journey”). It was written by Barron Schlameus with the assistance of Robert Camareno.

There is only so much that can be included in the small space on a plaque but enough to intrigue the reader. We were intrigued and began further research. This is just a bit of what we found:

When Hernan Cortez and his men, representing the King of Spain, landed on the Eastern shore of the Aztec Empire, which we know as Mexico, they were able to defeat the Aztec with the help of the Tlascalan tribe. The conquered area was then known as New Spain.

Members of the Aztec and the Tlascalan tribes were civilized just as the Mayan and Incas. As time went on there were marriages between the Spanish soldiers and the Tlascalan women. An individual of this racial mix was called “mestizo.”

The Tlascalan later became an important factor in the Spanish colonization of Northern Mexico. In 1591, 400 Tlascalan and Aztec families settled Saltillo in Coahuila.

The founding of the province of Texas was by Capt. Don Domingo Ramon in 1716 with an expedition of 65 civilians from the Saltillo area.

To protect the interest of New Spain, a buffer zone was created in the province of Texas by Spanish soldiers, Mestizos and Tlascalans. In Texas, they became known as Tejanos. The buffer zones were located in Nacogdoches in East Texas, in Bexar (San Antonio) and Goliad in South Texas and ranch country between the Nueces River and the Rio Grande.

Among the many important contributions given Texas by the Tejanos were the compania volante, the Flying Squadron that were the group that served as the forerunner of the Texas Rangers. The initial “compania volante” to arrive in Texas were from Southern Coahuila and reported for permanent military duty at Mission Valero around 1803. Its troops were mainly Tlascalan and numbered 241 including wives and children.

In the years following Texas Ranger Capt. John Coffee Hays learned from the Tejano. Many who rode with him as Texas Rangers were Tejanos.

As we approach the 175th anniversary of the founding of New Braunfels, we look to two Tejanos who were important to this site — Jose Antonio Navarro and Juan Martin de Veramendi.

Jose Antonio Navarro as Land Commissioner awarded five leagues of land to Juan Martin de Veramendi in 1831. Within these leagues are Comal Springs that are included in the site Prince Carl purchased from Veramendi’s heirs for a “way station” to the Fisher-Miller Grant. This way station became the “Beauty Spot of Texas,” New Braunfels.

This column is based on the book New Braunfels’ Historic Landa Park, Its Springs & Its People by Rosemarie Leissner Gregory and Arlene Krueger Seales. For more info visit www.friendsforlandapark.org and Facebook. You may call Jo Heideman at 830-625-3186 if you would like to obtain a book.

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