• The churches of San Antonio were the heart of the Spanish colonal mission communities.

    San Antonio Missions

    National Historical Park Texas

Mission Espada

Mission Espada

Mission Espada

Mission San Francisco de la Espada

Founded in 1690 as San Francisco de los Tejas near present-day Weches, Texas, this was the first mission in Texas. In 1731, the mission transferred to the San Antonio River area and renamed Mission San Francisco de la Espada. A friary was built in 1745, and the church was completed in 1756.

Following government policy, Franciscan missionaries sought to make life within mission communities closely resemble that of Spanish villages and Spanish culture. In order to become Spanish citizens and productive inhabitants, Native Americans learned vocational skills. As plows, farm implements, and gear for horses, oxen, and mules fell into disrepair, blacksmithing skills soon became indispensable. Weaving skills were needed to help clothe the inhabitants. As buildings became more elaborate, mission occupants learned masonry and carpentry skills under the direction of craftsmen contracted by the missionaries.

After secularization, these vocational skills proved beneficial to post-colonial growth of San Antonio. The legacy of these Native American artisans is still evident throughout the city of San Antonio today.

 
Click here for more information about Mission Espada. It is located at 10040 Espada Road, San Antonio, Texas, 78214.

Did You Know?

The pad, flower, and fruit of the prickly pear cactus are all edible.

that the prickly pear cactus was a regular part of the South Texas Indians' diet? The pad, the flower, and the tuna (fruit) are all edible. Even today, "nopales" are found in the produce department of Texas grocery stores.