The Hispanic-American History Timeline
1682 Ysleta del Sur Becomes
the First Spanish Mission in today's Texas
Copus Christi de San Antonio de la Ysleta del Sur, the first Spanish mission in present-day Texas, is established by Fray Francisco de Ayeta and Antonio de Otermin, the Spanish governor of New Mexico, in El Paso, Tx.
First used as a temporary refugee camp for Pueblo Indians who were fleeing from Apache raiders, the mission flourishes as an agricultural community, the first of several established by Spaniards and Native Americans near the Rio Grande. These were people who were returning north to Texas after fleeing south from northern New Mexico during the Pueblo Revolt of 1680.
Built with mud and chinked logs, the mission was was force to relocate several times due to fires and flooding of the Rio Grande, but one of the original church bells still survives.
Today, the Ysleta community is not only recognized as the oldest in Texas, and it's parish is not only the oldest continuously operated church in the state, but it also claims the oldest continuously cultivated plot of land in the country. Today, the Ysleta church still serves the descendants of the Tigua people who first converted to Catholicism more than 500 years ago. Every year, they still celebrate the feast of St. Anthony of Padua, the mission's patron saint.
By Annie Malembe, Lehman College