In the 17th century, Texas, along with most of the southern part of what is now the United States from Florida to California, belonged to the sprawling Spanish Empire. Since France possessed modern-day Louisiana and showed a keen desire to expand her territories at Spain’s expense, the Spanish Crown decided to establish six missions along the San Antonio River to stop the French.
The missions served as forts, schools, villages, farms and ranches. The Franciscan friars converted the native Coahuilans to Catholicism and taught them to behave as Spaniards. The missions also helped maintain Spanish control over the frontier.
Five of those missions thrived and can be visited following the Mission Trail signposts around the city of San Antonio. Four of the churches are still active parish churches. When we visited the Missions, there were weddings at two of them!
Photos: Ana O’Reilly
Visit San Antonio Missions National Historical Park for more information
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