French Texans

The Story of Early French Texans

Push Factors

The French feared that their territory in North America would be too vulnerable to their neighbors, such as the Spanish and the US. Because the French weren't present at the base of the Mississippi, Spain had an opportunity to control the whole Gulf of Mexico, and that would be a threat to New France's southern borders. They also came in search of better social, political, and economic conditions.

Pull Factors

The Republic of Texas was faced with the problem of the population being too small for a nation. They used the idea of empressarios, which was started in Texas by Spain( Stephen F Austin, Haden Edwards, Martin De Leon. Ring a Bell?). Henri Castro was one of the empressarios to recieve a land grant from Texas. He was a wealthy French Banker who thirsted for adventure. It took him two years, but he founded Castroville, west of San Antonio, and settled 2000 French families!

Culture Highlights

The French Texans had many traditions and festivas such as Mardi Gras, and also the Port Arthur Crawfish Festival, which is celebrated in July. French and Cajun people come together to celebrate with pots of hot, spicy gumbi and jambalaya. They enjoy Country dancing as well. Most French Cajuns marry within communities and still keep their own special version of the French Language, and also the Catholic Religion.

Significant Individuals

La Salle was the first Frenchman to place feet on Texas. He wanted to create a colony on the Mississippi River, and left France. He misread a map, and landed at Matagorda Bay in 1685 rather then going to the Mississippi. He lost all of his ships and supplies during a storm, but he still managed to create Fort St. Louis on Garcitas Creek. The colony only lasted 2 years. General Charles Lallemand was of the first French settlers, and started the illegal military colony of Champ d'Asile( Field of Asylum), in 1818, with 150 French veterans. They came to Galveston, which was owned by French pirate Jean Lafitte, and then traveled the Trinity River to an area close to present day Liberty. Henri Castro was one of the empressarios for Texas, and also the most successful. He had settled 485 families and 457 single men in the towns of Castroville, Quihi, Vandenburg, and D'Hanis.

Fun Facts!

Did you know there is a Victor Hugo Street in every town in France?

It is illegal to name a pig Napoleon in France!!!

France has the highest number of Ski Resorts!

Gustave Eiffel and Auguste Bartholdi created the Statue of Liberty for the US!

France produces over 400 TYPES OF CHEESE EVERY YEAR!!!

The French had an early version of the internet called Minitel, where as long as 1984, they could pay bills and shop at home using the Minitel service!

How did the French affect Texas?

There are a lot of new cities, and a lot more diversity in the culture of Texas. There are a lot more French people living in Texas now, and that creates some diversity between the cultures. At that time, people were settling in Castroville, and other places in Texas, but mostly along the East Coast. The traditional Festival of Mardi Gras is still there, but not so much in Texas(New Orleans).

Is Texas better off with Immigration?

I think it is because we get more opportunities to experience new cultures. If it was just American, ther would be nothing new to try. But if Texas is more diverse, then everybody has more opportunities to experience new things. I also think it is important to have immigration because there are more people who have different skills, and there will be more services.


"Gone To Texas - Immigration of Cultures." Institute of Texan Cultures, 1 Feb. 2003. Web. Fall 2012.

"FRENCH." Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Feb. 2013.

"French Texans." French Texans. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Feb. 2013.

Personal Information

Adithya Harihara

5th Period

Texas History