Alvar Cabeza de Vaca, the old Spanish shipwrecked explorer who trekked through early Texas, stumbled into an area long known as “La Junta de los Rios.” The Conchos River joins the Rio Grande there, and the flood plain is still a productive soil. Modern Presidio, Texas sits there today.
Cabeza de Vaca found a handsome race of farmers there, who extended him a welcome. He remarked that the farmers had “the best physiques we ever saw,” and lived in “houses that looked like houses.” After a few weeks, Cabeza de Vaca and his three companions made their way south, eventually reaching Mexico City.
The Juntanos had told the Spaniards about the large Pueblo settlements off to the north. That part of Cabeza de Vaca’s report caught the attention of Fray Augustin Rodriguez, who petitioned the Viceroy of Mexico for permission to seek the pueblos and Christianize the Juntanos. Rodriguez found that the Juntanos had escaped the diseases that had decimated so many Indian villages. However, the Juntanos had become targets to Spanish slave raiders. Their peaceful society made the Juntanos easier prey than the nomadic Indian tribes.
When the Spanish expeditions began using El Paso del Norte, they ceased to visit La Junta de los Rios. Interest in the village revived during the Apache Indian wars. At that time the Juntanos had adopted Spanish clothing, were growing wheat and practicing Christianity.
Modern Presidio, Texas, isolated though it is, deals with a modern problem – illegals – and is experiencing something of a boom.
January 3, 2018
“No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.” – Poet Stanislaw Jerzy Lec.