History for Road Trips IV: La Bahía del Espíritu Santo (1722)

Founded by Spanish Franciscans in southeastern Texas in 1722, la Mission Nuestra Señora de la Bahía del Espíritu Santo de Zúñiga was meant both to colonize and convert the local Karankawa people and to stand guard against the French in Louisiana. The central mission compound still stands near what later became (in 1835) the Goliad battlefield. Near the old church can also be found the childhood home of Ignacio Zaragoza (1829-1862). Born in Texas when the state was still Mexican territory, Zaragoza made his name by leading the Mexican army to victory over the French during the 1862 Battle of Puebla. Today, all three of these sites are enclosed within the same historical park outside the town of Goliad, Texas, a small town roughly equidistant between Beeville and Victoria. This conjunction of major historical sites on the same plot of land, combined with the beautiful surrounding countryside, makes this a worthwhile daytrip for residents of San Antonio or Houston.

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