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Setting the Stage

Missions were a major part of Spain's plan to establish and manage a colonial frontier in what is now the American Southwest. Settlement of this frontier has had significant and far-reaching effects on the development of the United States, both politically and culturally, effects that continue to be felt today. The missions were directly involved in the military, religious, and cultural development of the Texas frontier, and they influenced policy­making across the entire Southwest. The contribution of the missions to agriculture and commerce–they strongly influenced the development of the cattle industry–was of critical importance to the growth of the state of Texas and the San Antonio region. The mission buildings constitute a unique record of the architecture, art, and sculpture of the Spanish colonial period in Texas.




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