Texas now and then

This week in the Hill Country

Balloons over Horseshoe Bay Resort

March 25 – 27

The region’s only annual hot air balloon festival. Each year, thousands of balloon enthusiasts from bandera-rodeoacross Texas arrive to watch 20 hot air balloons glow and ascend over the Hill Country terrain.

Bandera ProRodeo

Fri – Sun, 05/27 – 05/29/16

Time: 7:30 PM
Cost: Adults $12, Children 6-12 $6, under 6 Free
PRCA rodeo produced by Rafter G Rodeo Company.
Mansfield Park Rodeo Arena
Bandera, TX 

Yesterday’s News

1855    [This one’s long, but I had no idea! And it’s really interesting.]

emperor-maximilianISantiago Vidaurri, a powerful caudillo in northeastern Mexico, was born in Lampazos, Nuevo León, Mexico, on July 25, 1809. In 1837 he became the chief assistant to Governor Joaquín García, and in the 1840s he served as a secretary for Governor Manuel María de Llano. The young bureaucrat traveled to Texas in 1841 to spy on Mirabeau B. Lamar‘s Texan Santa Fe Expedition. Throughout the 1840s and early 1850s he worked for conservatives in the Mexican government. After Mexico’s loss to the United States in 1848, Vidaurri and other young politicians denounced the current regime under a plan labeled “Restaurador de la Libertad,” Vidaurri captured Monterrey on May 23, 1855, and was installed as governor and military commander of Nuevo León. His army moved rapidly into the neighboring states of Coahuila and Tamaulipas, consolidating control throughout northeastern Mexico. To procure weapons and other military supplies, he turned to merchants north of the Rio Grande. When charged with an attempt to establish the “Republic of Sierra Madre,” Vidaurri insisted that his was a federalist movement in the best of liberal traditions. He cooperated with United States and Texas authorities in punishing Indians who raided the frontier. 

Vidaurri annexed Coahuila on February 19, 1856, decreeing the formation of the combined state of Nuevo León y Coahuila. For the next two years he controlled this vast territory virtually as an independent nation. In September 1858, however, the northern caudillo suffered a major defeat at the hands of the conservatives near San Luis Potosí, and retreated to Monterrey to rebuild his forces. National liberals, including Benito Juárez, denounced him; and some of the most able officers of Nuevo León defected to the national cause.

When Texas in 1861 seceded from the United States and joined the Southern Confederacy in the Civil War, a Yankee naval blockade soon closed off all Gulf ports, including those of Texas. Confederate agents established alternative trade routes through northern Mexico, thus allowing European goods to flow from Tampico and Matamoros into Texas, and a vast quantity of cotton to move in the other direction. Vidaurri controlled much of the region in which this lucrative trade developed.

Meanwhile, the army of Napoleon III invaded Mexico and installed Maximilian on the throne. In 1863 Benito Juárez once again fled from the capital, reaching Nuevo León the next February. Vidaurri at first refused to allow him to enter Monterrey. Fearing rebellion by his own people, however, the governor abandoned his fiefdom and took refuge in Texas. When Juárez moved to El Paso in August 1864, a French army occupied Monterrey, and Vidaurri returned.

When the Empire collapsed in June 1867, the army of Porfirio Díaz occupied Mexico City. A squadron arrested Vidaurri and executed him without a trial as a traitor to the Mexican nation.


Categories: Texas series

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