El Camino Real
Also known as Old San Antonio Road and Old Spanish Trail
A trail of adventure, hardships, opportunity and freedom, over which history stalked into Texas. To the Spanish, El Camino Real was a road traveled for the king â€“ to colonize, Christianize, seek adventure or look for riches. This road became the most famous.
Its many parts were made, discovered or known hundreds of years before 1691, when Domingo Teran de los Rios, first Texas governor, joined and marked the different trails for the king. It was the route from Monclova (crossing the Rio Grande near Eagle Pass) to the missions of east Texas. Probably its trailblazers were buffalos and Indians, or Aztecs on trading expeditions. It was also probably traveled, described and changed in part by French explorer La Salle; by Alonso de Leon and Father Damian Massanet planting missions in east Texas; and by the French nobleman St. Denis seeking trade along the Rio Grande.
As the years wore on, it was traveled in 1820 by Moses Austin, as well as by thousands of settlers who followed him. San Augustine, Nacogdoches and San Antonio were its principal cities; inns sprang up along the way. Soldiers and supply trains used it during the Texas Revolution, Mexican War and Civil War. It is still followed in part by this highway.