In the 17th century, Spanish explorers making the earliest entradas (exploring military expeditions) into the future states of Texas and Louisiana moved along American Indian paths (that would become El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail). They accepted hospitality from several American Indian villages or rancherías. Some rancherías became repeated stopping places (parajes) along the various routes. Spaniards established missions for the religious and social conversion of American Indians.
Because many missions were short lived, some comprised no more than a few jacales, primitive wattle-and-daub structures made of poles and mud with a thatch roof. Despite moving to new locations, often changing names as they did so, the majority of Spanish missions in Texas were unsuccessful in their efforts to convert American Indians to Christianity.
Read the story of the Caddo people. As a self-sufficient nation with their own religion, the Caddo studiously ignored Spanish demands to accept Christianity.
Did You Know?
El Camino Real de los Tejas was a conduit for trade, migration, and settlement across Texas. Now a national historic trail, El Camino Real helped to establish settlement patterns at continue to the present.