Beatrice de Leon presented the history of Mercedes Texas from the earliest of times to the middle of the 1900s.
She started her presentation by describing that we are a mixed group of people by listing the different time periods that different groups inhabited Spain and then she briefly talked about our Native American Heritage.
She also talked about the early Spanish explorers and how Alonso de Leon made his first entries into what is now Texas and also about the migration of Native Americans into South Texas due to the pressures by white settlers up north.
A point that I really liked is that she pointed out to attendees, was that Mercedes Texas was not formed in a vacuum and contrary to Anglo beliefs, the Rio Grande valley was not desolate and was not a frontier. It had already been settled for over one hundred years by the Spanish and earlier to that by Native Americans.
It was pointed out how Jose de Escandon founded Colonies with people form Nuevo Leon and the distribution of land in the 1760s. Mercedes was founded int he Llano Grande land gran originally awarded to Juan Jose Ynojose Balli but subsequently distributed among his heirs.
Then this land came under the rule of texas and then the United States. Beatrice points out that then the railroad came and along with irrigation it transformed the landscape and the economy of South Texas.
The presentation included a ton of pictures of local families and businessmen. Photos of natural disasters were included. Overall it is an awesome presentation that I highly recommend it to anyone that has links to Mercedes Texas or for a matter of fact to the Rio Grande Valley.
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