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  • Writer's pictureMichael T. Berger, MBA

Inside410 Historical Marker Love - The Canary Islanders

These markers surround us because we live in a community steeped in history and culture. We are sometimes so inundated with what we have in front of us that we end up not taking a minute to enjoy the past that has so enriched our lives and gives our city such a unique and wonderful spirit.

Marker Text:

Earliest civilian colonists of San Antonio, this nucleus of pioneers from the Canary Islands formed the first organized civil government in Texas and founded the village of San Fernando de Bexar in 1731.

Following a sea and land voyage of over a year, these weary travelers arrived at the Presidio (Fort) of San Antonio early on March 9, 1731. Totaling 56 persons, they had emigrated to Texas from the Spanish Canary Islands near Africa, by order of King Philip V.

On July 2 they began to lay out a villa (village), choosing a site on the west side of the Plaza de las Yslas (present Main Plaza) for the church and a site on the east side for the Casa Real (government building). On July 19 the Captain of the Presidio, Juan Antonio de Almazan, read to the Islanders the decree of the Viceroy naming them and their descendants “Hijos Dalgo” – Persons of Nobility.

The heads of the 16 families who settled in San Antonio were: Juan Leal Goraz, Juan Curbelo, Juan Leal, Antonio Santos, Jose Padron, Manuel de Nis, Vincente Alvarez Travieso, Salvador Rodriguez, Jose Leal, Juan Delgado, Jose Cabrera, Juan Rodriguez Granadillo, Francisco de Arocha, Antonio Rodriguez, Lorenzo and Martin de Armas, and Felipe and Jose Antonio Perez.


The presence of Canary Islanders in San Antonio holds a significant place in the city's history and cultural tapestry. In the late 18th century, a group of settlers from the Canary Islands arrived in San Antonio, bringing their unique customs, traditions, and agricultural practices. These hardworking individuals played a crucial role in the development and growth of the city, contributing to its agriculture, commerce, and cultural heritage. Their influence can still be seen today in the architecture, cuisine, and festivities of San Antonio, as the descendants of the original Canary Islanders continue to celebrate and preserve their vibrant heritage.

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