Route of El Camino Real

Date Added

Great thoroughfare of pioneer Texas, stretching 1,000 miles from Saltillo, Mexico, to present Louisiana. The general route followed ancient Indian and buffalo trails, but the oldest marked portion, known as "Trail of the Padres", was blazed in 1691 under Domingo Teran de los Rios, first Governor of Texas. This part joined Monclova, then capital of the province, to the Spanish missions of East Texas. San Antonio, military nerve center of the region, was a major stop. Over the centuries, explorers, traders, smugglers, armed men, and civilians traversed this road. In 1820 Moses Austin traveled it to San Antonio to request a land grant from Spanish officials. The colonizing venture he started later brought thousands of Anglo-Americans over the road to help settle Texas. In 1915 the Texas Legislature appropriated $5,000 to survey and mark the route. The Daughters of the American Revolution and other patriotic groups sponsored and endorsed the project, and V.N. Zivley was commissioned to make the survey. In 1918 the state and D.A.R. placed granite markers approximately every five miles along the Texas section of the road. Today many modern highways, particularly State 21, follow the original route of El Camino Real.


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