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The Fight for Liberty in Texas Did Not Begin in 1835

Most Texans are familiar with the start of the Texas Revolution in Gonzales under the Come And Take It flag on October 2, 1835. But that was not the first attempt at throwing off centralized, far-away government in Texas. And the earlier fights for Texas liberty were dangerous, bloody affairs.

On January 22, 1811, the leader of the military forces in San Antonio, Captain Juan Bautista de las Casas led his militia to arrest the Spanish governor of Texas, Manuel Maria de Salcedo. Father Miguel Hidalgo had started the war for Mexican independence from Spain just four months earlier. The war for independence from Spain had come to Texas.

By February 1, Casas, having been recognized by the revolutionary independence government in Coahuilla as the interim governor of Texas, had dispatched Antonio Saenz and Gavino Delgado Nacagdoces to successfully take that important town for the revolution.

But internal dissension brought down the independence government. Casas accused Saenz of personally pocketing some of the wealth confiscated from the Spanish leaders that had been deposed, but then released him. Saenz aligned with royalists and royalist leader, Juan Manuel Zambrano, and they captured and arrested Casas and Ignacio Aldama who had been recently returned from the United States after successfully obtaining aid for the revolution there.

Casas was court-martialed and sentenced as a traitor, then demoted, shot in the back, and beheaded on August 3, 1811, with his head displayed publicly in San Antonio, and Salcedo and the Spanish restored to power.

The entire episode is known as the Casas Revolt. By the time Casas was executed, the spark and leader of the revolution, Hidalgo had been captured on his way to San Antonio (and eventually the U.S.) and shot just two or three days earlier.


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