Nothing I Can Do About it Now

May 23, 2007


Filed under: history, la salle, texas — dregina @ 4:16 pm

Sometimes, Cristian does the right thing. One such time was my birthday, when he gave me a book on Texas history. I’ve been wanting one since I moved here but, despite intermittent searches at the library/bookstore, I never found one.

Actually, I found plenty of books on Texas history, but everything I found was authored by (there is no delicate way to put this) BATSHIT CRAZY TEXANS. These are the people our state is famous for, and  you can see them coming a mile away. BATSHIT CRAZY TEXANS believe, with all their heart, that

  1. Nothing bad ever happened in Texas
  2. If something bad happened, it was not a Texan’s fault.

Now, these people can be fun to talk to at a party, but I don’t want them writing my history books.

So. Cristian found me a book called Gone To Texas. Aaaand I’ve been reading it. I thought I would share some highlights with y’all, seeing as how it’s pretty difficult to get Texas history from anyone who isn’t a BATSHIT CRAZY TEXAN.

  • Spain claimed Texas back in the early 1500s, but didn’t really care about it. Yes, that’s right, Texas was more or less ignored for the first 100+ years of European exploration. No Gold + No Silver = No Europeans.
  • Then this Frenchman, LaSalle,  set out from Florida  with a few hundred colonists. They were aiming to set up shop where the Mississippi meets the Gulf of Mexico. Now, this next part is a little hard to believe, but somehow they managed to MISS THE (MIGHTY) MISSISSIPPI RIVER, and instead ended up settling in what is now Victoria, Texas. This leads to the biggest takeaway I’ve gained from the book so far:
  • None of these fucking people had a CLUE where they were. Not A Clue. The first hundred pages of Texas history basically reads like this: “So-and-so set off to go to X, but after 17 shipwrecks and 18 bouts of horrible disease, he ended up settling in Y, where 95% of those colonists not already dead perished of hunger, disease, and/or from murdering each other.”
  • Seriously. In LaSalle’s case,  3 of his 4 ships didn’t even make it to Texas. The ship that did make it was smashed into pieces, and a bunch of people died, and as I recall it was winter and by the time the colonists made it ashore THEY DIDN’T EVEN HAVE ANY CLOTHES ON. They washed up on shore NAKED. According to the book, the local Indians sat down on the beach and cried with them. That’s the kind of shape they were in.
  • This was 1684. They built a little fort out of boat parts, and managed to last until 1688. They dabbled in cannibalism from time to time, when things got rough.
  • In 1688 the 20 remaining colonists were murdered by the aforementioned local Indians, who, I suppose, had grown tired of their uninvited cannibal guests.  
  • But! In between 1684 and 1688, La Salle set out – twice – for CANADA.  ON FOOT. On foot, my friends. Because Canada was the closest place he could go for help. He had to turn back both times because, basically, YOU CAN’T WALK TO CANADA FROM TEXAS. I mean, maybe now that we have Walmarts you could, but not back then.  Jesus Christ.
  • Also! La Salle – he’s the guy they named the Buick after. FYI.
  • So, basically, the first European settlement in Texas was a tiny, doomed colony of French cannibals. But! When the Spaniards got wind of the fact that the French were on their turf they freaked the fuck out and sent a huge contingent of Spaniards and enslaved Indians to find La Salle and co. and kill them, and to establish some Spanish colonies while they were at it. Ironic, considering all the French people were dead already, but there you have it.  La Salle, or, to be more specific, the Spaniards’ hatred of La Salle,  kicked off European encroachment into Texas. The end, for now.

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