Tejano or Texano (Spanish for "Texan") is a term used to identify a Texan of Criollo Spanish or Mexican heritage.
Historically, the Spanish term Tejano has been used to identify different groups of people. During the Spanish Colonial times and pre-Anglo colonization, the term primarily applied to Spanish settlers of the region now known as Texas (first as part of the New Spain and then in 1821 as part of Mexico). During the times of independent south Texas, the term also applied to Spanish-speaking Texans and Hispanicized Germans and other Europeans. In modern times, the term is more broadly used to identify a Texan of Mexican descent. It is also a term used to identify the natives of those regions settled.
Already in 1519, Alonso Alvarez de Pineda claimed Texas for Spain. However, Spain paid little attention to the province until 1685. In this year, Spain received news of the existence of a French colony in Texas that could endanger Spanish mines and shipping routes, so that the king of Spain sent 10 expeditions to the province to look for a French colony, that never came to see. Between 1690 and 1693 several Spanish expeditions took place in Texas, who helped obtain a better understanding of the place for the provincial government and the settlers who come later to Texas.
When settlers first arrived in Texas, Tejano settlements arose in three separate regions. The Northern Nacogdoches region, the Bexar-Goliad region along the San Antonio River, and the Rio Grande ranching frontier between the Nueces River and the Rio Grande. These populations shared certain characteristics yet they were also independent from one another. The main unifying factor for these separate regions was their shared responsibility of defending the Tejas frontier. Some of the first Tejano settlers were from the Canary Islands. Their family units were among the first to settle at the Presidio of San Antonio de Béjar in 1731 (Modern-day San Antonio, Texas). Soon after, they established the first civil government in Texas at La Villa de San Fernando.
Ranching was a major activity in the Bexar-Goliad settlement, which consisted of a belt of ranches that extended along the San Antonio river between Bexar and Goliad. The Nacogdoches settlement was located in the North Texas region. Tejanos from Nacogdoches traded with the French and Anglo residents of Louisiana, and were culturally influenced by them. The third settlement was located North of the Rio Grande toward the Nueces River. These Southern ranchers were citizens of Spanish origin from Tamaulipas and Northern Mexico, and identified with Spanish Criollo culture. They were of the same stock as the original Tejano settlers. The Northern Mexican states of Nuevo León, Coahuila, and Tamaulipas seceded from Mexico in 1840 to establish la República del Río Grande (the Rio Grande Republic) with its capital in what is now Laredo, Texas. However, their much anticipated political marriage with their Tejano kin did not come to fruition.
In 1821 at the end of the Mexican War of Independence, there were about 4,000 Tejanos living in what is now the U.S. state of Texas alongside a lesser number of immigrants. In the 1820s many settlers from the United States and other nations moved to Texas from the United States. The approval of the national colonization law, promoted the immigration of new settlers to Texas, so by 1830, the 30,000 settlers in Texas outnumbered the Hispanos Tejanos six to one. The Texians and Tejanos alike rebelled against the attempts of centralist authority of Mexico City and the measures implemented by Santa Anna. Tensions between the central Mexican government and the settlers eventually led to the Texas Revolution. After the revolution, many were dismayed by the treatments they received at the hands of Texians/Anglos, who suspected and accused the Tejanos of sabotage and of aiding Santa Anna.
In Texas insurgents in Mexico in 1915 wrote a manifesto that was circulated in the town of San Diego, in South Texas. The manifesto "Plan de San Diego" called on Hispanics to reconquer the Southwest and kill all the Anglo men. Numerous cross-border raids took place and there were murders and sabotage, The Texas Rangers smashed the insurrection. Tejanos strongly repudiated the Plan and affirmed their American loyalty by founding the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC). It was headed by professionals, businessmen and modernizers, and became the central Tejano organization promoting civic pride and civil rights.
In 1963 Tejanos in Crystal City organized themselves, won the elections, and took control of the city and the school board. This move signaled the emergence of modern Tejano politics for a few years. In 1969-70 a different Tejano coalition, the La Raza Unida Party, took control of the city. The new leader was José Angel Gutiérrez, a radical nationalist who worked to form a Chicano nationalist movement across the Southwest, 1969-79. He promoted cultural terminology (Chicano, Aztlan) designed to unite the militants; his movement split into competing factions in the late 1970s.
Etymology and usage:
In the Spanish language, the term "tejano" is simply the term to identify an individual from Texas regardless of race or ethnic background. During the Spanish Colonial Period of Texas, before Texas became a part of independent Mexico in 1821, most colonial settlers of Northern New Spain, including Northern Mexico, Texas and the American Southwest, were descendants of Spaniards.
Tejanos may variously consider themselves to be Mexican, Chicano /Mexican-American, Spanish and Hispano in ancestral heritage. In urban areas, as well as some rural communities, Tejanos tend to be well integrated into both Hispanic and mainstream American cultures, and a number of them, especially among younger generations, identify more with the mainstream and may understand little or no Spanish.
While a large number of the people who have come mostly from Central and Southern Mexico since the Mexican Revolution up until the present have drawn their identity from the mestizo culture (a mix of indigenous and Spanish cultures) and had their history and identity in the history of Mexico, most of the people whose ancestors colonized Texas as well as most of the present-day Northern Mexican states in the Spanish Colonial Period drew their identity from the Spaniards, or Criollos. Many of these find their history and identity in the history of Spain and of the United States as a consequence of the participation of Spain and its colonial provinces of Texas and Louisiana in the American Revolution.
In general, regional inter-cultural differences have caused many people of colonial Tejano descent to identify more with the people of Louisiana, which was a Spanish colony, rather than with the people of Central and Southern Mexico.
Ethnic and national origins:
Tejanos are those Texians who are descended from colonists who pioneered Texas in the Spanish Colonial Period before 1820 or Spanish Mexicans.
In direct relation to this distinction, genuine Tejano music is related to, and sounds more like, the folk music of Louisiana, known as "Cajun music", blended with the sounds of Rock and Roll, R&B, Pop, and Country, with Mexican influences such as Mariachi. The American Cowboy culture and music was born from the meeting of the Anglo-American Texians who were colonists from the American South and the original Tejano Texian pioneers and their "vaquero" or "cow-er" culture.
The cuisine that would come to be "Tex-Mex" originated with the Tejanos as a hybrid of Spanish and North American indigenous commodities with influences from Mexican cuisine.
Tex-Mex cuisine is characterized by its heavy use of melted cheese, meat (particularly beef), beans, and spices, in addition to corn or flour tortillas. Chili con carne, crispy chalupas, chili con queso, enchiladas, and fajitas are all Tex-Mex inventions. A common feature of Tex-Mex is the combination plate, with several of the above on one large platter. Serving tortilla chips and a hot sauce or salsa as an appetizer is also an original Tex-Mex invention.Cabrito, barbacoa, carne seca, and other products of cattle culture have been common in the ranching cultures of South Texas and Northern Mexico. In the 20th century, Tex-Mex took on Americanized elements such as yellow cheese, as goods from the United States became cheap and readily available. Moreover, Tex-Mex has imported flavors from other spicy cuisines, such as the use of cumin.
Daniel D. Arreola states that there is a line of demarcation in the "South Texas Mexican" food region, using a "taco-burrito" and "taco-barbecue" line of demarcation. To the west of this line, Mexican food served in a flour tortilla is often called a burrito, due to the influence of the Mexican state of Chihuahua. To the south and east of this line, the same food may be simply called a taco, showing a Tex-Mex influence. To the north, this food gives way to barbecue sandwiches reflecting the influx of European, Southern Anglo, and African Americans.
The population of the majority of Tejanos who descend from the original Spanish settlers and those who descend from recent early and mid-20th century Mexican immigrants are concentrated in Southern Texas. San Antonio, is the historic center of Tejano culture, and Bexar County and Duval County have some of the historically highest concentrations of Tejanos.
Tejanos of Colonial origin:
Settlers and settlers´s descendants:
Gaspar Flores de Abrego,
Ignacio Lorenzo de Armas,
Simón de Arocha,
José María Jesús Carbajal,
Jacob De Cordova,
Juan Curbelo (Tejano settler),
Blas María de la Garza Falcón,
Manuel N. Flores,
José Antonio de la Garza,
Antonio Rodríguez Medero,
Jose Antonio Navarro,
Antonio de Olivares,
Antonio Rodríguez Medero,
Francisco Antonio Ruiz,
José Francisco Ruiz,
Don Tomás Sánchez,
Vicente Álvarez Travieso,
José de Urrutia,
Juan Martin de Veramendi,
Tomás Felipe de Winthuisen,
Lorenzo de Zavala,
Adina Emilia De Zavala,
Tejano of immigrant (not settler) origin or descent
Tony Ayala, Jr.,
George Prescott Bush,
Elsa Salazar Cade,
Richard E. Cavazos,
Rudolph B. Davila,
Jade Esteban Estrada,
Madison De La Garza,
Hector P. Garcia,
Alfredo Cantu Gonzalez,
Henry B. Gonzalez,
Armando Lichtenberger Jr.,
Jose M. Lopez,
Los Lonely Boys,
Art Martinez de Vara,
Abraham Quintanilla III,
Rico Rodriguez II,
Jose Francisco Torres,
Carlos Coy (South Park Mexican),