El mundo tejano: Introduction of Hispanic Texas

ILLO 0.6 La Tejas hispana

In the sections of El mundo tejano, you will learn about the cultural features of Hispanic Texas. The objective is to broaden your knowledge of the unique ways in which the Hispanic community has contributed to this state. In this module, the information will be in English, but as you progress in your learning process, more Spanish will be incorporated. What do you know about the Hispanic population in your hometown? How has Hispanic culture influenced your home city?

Attribution: La misión San José en San Antonio, Tejas. By Gabriela C. Zapata, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.


Soy tejano

The Tejanos [teˈxano] (derived from “Tejas,” the Hasinais Indian name for “Texas,” meaning “friends” or “allies”) are residents of the state of Texas who are culturally descendants of the original Spanish-speaking settlers of Texas and northern Mexico. They may be of Criollo Spanish or Mexican American origin. Historically, the Spanish term Tejano has been used to identify various groups of people. During the Spanish colonial era, the term was primarily applied to Spanish settlers of the region now known as the state of Texas (first it was part of New Spain and after 1821 it was part of Mexico). After settlers entered from the United States and gained the independence of the Republic of Texas, the term was applied to mostly Spanish-speaking Texans, Hispanicized Germans, and other Spanish-speaking residents. In practice, many members of traditionally Tejano communities often have varying degrees of fluency in Spanish with some having virtually no Spanish proficiency, though they are still considered culturally part of the community. Since the early 20th century, Tejano has been more broadly used to identify a Texan Mexican-American. It is also a term used to identify natives, as opposed to newcomers, in the areas settled. Latino people of Texas identify as Tejano if their families were living in the state before the area was controlled by Anglo Americans. [1]

La lengua tejana

Texas has no official language. However, as with the rest of the United States, English is the predominant language of the state. Spanish is also spoken by approximately one-third of the population, and it is the first language of many residents from the towns on the Mexican border. However, don’t assume that all Hispanic Texans speak Spanish. Some families have been in Texas for longer than Texas has been part of the U.S., and thus either speak only English, or use Spanish only as a second language. [2]

Was this information new to you? Do you know anything else about Tejanos? Do you know any famous Tejanos? For example, do you know who José Antonio Navarro was? You can learn more about him by watching the video below, produced by the Texas Historical Commission (http://www.thc.texas.gov/).

Attribution: Estatua de José Antonio Navarro en Corsicana, Tejas. Memorial to José Antonio Navarro (1937) at south entrance of Navarro County Courthouse grounds in Corsicana, Texas. By Billy Hathorn, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

(Used with permission of the Texas Historical Commission. This is copyrighted material, and it should not be embedded in derivatives.)

We also invite you to learn more about the beginnings of Spanish Texas. You can do so by watching the video Spanish Settlement of Texas, also developed by the Texas Historical Commission. How long has Spanish been part of Texas?

(Used with permission of the Texas Historical Commission. This is copyrighted material, and it should not be embedded in derivatives.)

Click on the following button to check how much you remember about the information you just learned.

Now it’s time to continue our trayecto. Let’s start exploring the skeleton of our communication in Spanish: