Tejano: Wikis


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Tejano or Tex-Mex music is also a kind of music originating in Texas.
Lorenzo de Zavala.jpgJuan seguin.jpgHenry B Gonzalez.jpg
Henry Cisneros.jpgEvaLongoria.jpg

Lorenzo de Zavala • Juan Seguín • Henry B. Gonzalez
 • Henry Cisneros • Eva Longoria-Parker

Total population
6,669,666 Americans
up to 32.0% of the total Texan population in 2000[1]
Regions with significant populations
south Texas

American English, Spanish, American Spanish, Spanglish, Indigenous languages of Mexico, Ladino


Predominantly Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish

Related ethnic groups

Californios, Hispanos, Mexicans, Spaniards, Basques, Canarians, Texians, German Texan

Tejano (Spanish for "Texan"; archaic spelling Texano) is a term used to identify a Texan of Mexican and/or Latin-American descent.




In 1821, at the end of the Mexican War of Independence, there were about 4,000 Tejanos living in what is now the state of Texas alongside a lesser number of immigrants. In the 1820s, many settlers from the United States and other nations moved to Texas from the United States. By 1830, the 30,000 settlers in Texas outnumbered the Tejanos six to one.[2] The Texians and Tejanos alike rebelled against the totalitarian authority of Mexico City and the draconian measures implemented by the Santa Anna regime. Tensions between the central Mexican government and the settlers eventually led to the Texas Revolution.

When immigrants first arrived in Texas, Tejano settlements arose in three separate regions. The Northern Nacogdoches region, the Bexar-Goliad region along the San Antonio River, and the Rio Grande ranching frontier between the Nueces River and the Rio Grande River. These populations shared certain characteristics yet they were also independent from one another. The main unifying factor for these separate regions was their shared responsibility of defending the Tejas frontier. Some of the first Tejano settlers were from the Canary Islands. Their family units were among the first to settle at the Presidio of San Antonio de Béjar in 1731 (Modern-day San Antonio, Texas). Soon after, they established the first civil government in Texas at La Villa de San Fernando.

Ranching was a major activity in the Bexar-Goliad settlement, which consisted of a belt of ranches that extended along the San Antonio river between Bexar and Goliad. The Nacogdoches settlement was located in the North Texas region. Tejanos from Nacogdoches traded with the French and Anglo residents of Louisiana, and were culturally influenced by them. The third settlement was located North of the Rio Grande toward the Nueces River. These Southern ranchers were citizens of Spanish origin from Tamaulipas and Northern Mexico, and identified with both Spanish and Mexican culture.[3] They were of the same stock as the original Tejano settlers. The Northern Mexican states of Nuevo Leon, Coahuila, and Tamaulipas seceded from Mexico in 1840 to establish la República del Río Grande (the Rio Grande Republic) with its capital in what is now Laredo, Texas. However, their much anticipated political marriage with their Tejano kin did not come to fruition.

Etymology and usage

In the Spanish language, the term "tejano" is simply the term to identify an individual from Texas regardless of race or ethnic background. During the Spanish Colonial Period of Texas, before Texas was wrested from Spain and became a part of Mexico in 1821, the colonial settlers of Northern New Spain, including Northern Mexico, Texas and the American Southwest, understood themselves to be and called themselves Spaniards[4], as opposed to the people of Central and Southern Mexico who generally understood themselves to be and called themselves mestizos or Amerindians. This is also a crucially important reason why the term "Spaniard Texan" rather than "Mexican Texan" is more correctly applied to the Tejano Texians, and to their descendants.

Tejanos may variously consider themselves to be Spanish, Mexican, and Hispano in ancestral heritage.[5] In urban areas, as well as some rural communities, Tejanos tend to be well integrated into both Hispanic and mainstream American cultures, and a number of them, especially among younger generations, identify more with the mainstream and may understand little or no Spanish.

It is necessary to draw this distinction because the people who came from Central and Southern Mexico starting just before, during, and after the Mexican Revolution today are and were of a different ethnic heritage from the people who colonized Texas during the Spanish Colonial Period.[citation needed]

While a large number of the people who have come mostly from Southern Mexico since the Mexican Revolution up until the present have drawn their identity from the mestizos or genizaros, and had their history and identity in the history of Mexico; the majority of the people who colonized Texas as well as most of the present-day Northern Mexican states in the Spanish Colonial Period were and drew their identity from the Spaniards and the criollos, and had their history and identity in the history of Spain and of the United States as a consequence of the participation of Spain and its colonial provinces of Texas and Louisiana in the American Revolution.

This difference caused the people of Texas, the colonial Tejanos or Tejano Texians, to identify more with the people of Louisiana, which was a Spanish colony, and of the U.S., rather than with the people of Central and Southern Mexico. For this reason as early as 1813, the colonial Tejanos established a government in Texas that looked forward to becoming part of the United States.

Ethnic and national origins

The majority of Tejanos today are white Hispanics; over 63% of all Hispanics in Texas, in the 2007 ACS, consist mostly of Mexican Americans whose ancestors arrived in Texas prior to and during the Mexican Revolution.[6] Colonial Tejanos, who can be correctly identified as Tejano Texians, are descended from the colonists who pioneered Texas as citizens of the Kingdom of Spain through the Spanish Colonial Period starting in the 1600s through the 1800s up to the Texas Revolution, and who were generally of pure Spanish blood, or Hispanicized European heritage, including Frenchmen like Juan Seguin, Italian like Jose Cassiano, or Corsican like Antonio Navarro, generally of white Mediterranean race. Spanish post-colonial settlers stayed in Texas as refugees fleeing Spanish Civil War, and their descendants were even added to the Tejano population. Also represented are Germans, who were heavily concentrated in the Edwards Plateau. The region's Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Danes, Dutch, Swedes, Irish (see also Irish Mexican), Scots, Welsh, and Anglo Americans - who arrived in the nineteenth century – were also considered Tejanos, as they were Hispanicized. The former two ethnicities (with Germans) would contribute greatly to Tex-Mex music. Arabs are also considered Tejanos after Arab Mexicans settled Texas during the Mexican Revolution. Natives of Texas with Spanish surnames and with Native American Hispanic and non-Spanish white American blood are Tejanos as well.

The earliest settlers also included Sephardi Jews and Iberian Moors, who fled the Inquisition. There were also West Africans who initially were imported as slaves or indentured servants, native Amerindians who had integrated socially and religiously into colonial societies, and multiracial people ranging from mulattos to mestizos [7][8][9][10] who were excluded by the Spanish law of "limpieza de sangre", or "purity of blood", from participating in the colonization of Northern New Spain including Texas and the American Southwest. For these reasons colonial Tejanos, or Tejano Texians/Texans, which today can also include mestizos and mulattos, are more accurately classified as "Spaniard/Spanish Texans", "Spaniard/Spanish Texians", "Spanish Americans", or simply as "Texans of Spanish heritage", as opposed to the more familiar "new Tejanos" who are of mostly Mexican heritage. Tejanos today also include Hispanics of other national origins who settled Texas in the mid-20th century, such as Cuban and Salvadoran Americans.

Asian Hispanics have also settled Texas throughout its history. The earliest were Spanish Filipinos from the cross-Pacific Galleon Trade with Mexico. Natives of Texas with Spanish surnames and with Filipino and non-Spanish white American blood may be mistaken as Tejanos. A significant wave of Asian Mexicans arrived in Texas during the Mexican Revolution.

Millions of Tejanos migrated across the U.S. in the mid 20th century to other states where Hispanics tend to live. Tejanos found industrial work at urban centers in the North and East, and, as farm migrant laborers, came in contact with Mexican immigrants from the northern states of Mexico. It explains the massive "Tejano" influence and contribution to present-day Mexican-American culture in California and other Western states.[citation needed]



In direct relation to this distinction, genuine Tejano music is related to, and sounds more like, the folk music of Louisiana, known as "Cajun music", blended with the sounds of Rock and Roll, R&B, Pop, and Country, with Mexican influences such as Mariachi. The American Cowboy culture and music was born from the meeting of the Anglo-American Texians who were colonists from the American South and the original Tejano Texian pioneers and their "vaquero" or "cow man" culture.[11][12][13][14]


The cuisine that would come to be "Tex-Mex" originated with the Tejanos as a hybrid of Spanish and North American indigenous commodities with influences of the Mexican cuisine.[15]

Tex-Mex cuisine is characterized by its heavy use of melted cheese, meat (particularly beef), beans, and spices, in addition to corn or flour tortillas. Chili con carne, crispy chalupas, chili con queso, enchiladas, and fajitas are all Tex-Mex inventions. A common feature of Tex-Mex is the combination plate, with several of the above on one large platter. Serving tortilla chips and a hot sauce or salsa as an appetizer is also an original Tex-Mex invention.[16] Cabrito, barbacoa, carne seca, and other products of cattle culture have been common in the ranching cultures of South Texas and Northern Mexico. In the 20th century, Tex-Mex took on Americanized elements such as yellow cheese, as goods from the United States became cheap and readily available.[17] Moreover, Tex-Mex has imported flavors from other spicy cuisines, such as the use of cumin.


The majority of Tejanos of both first generation (the first settlers) and those who descend from recent early and mid twentieth century Mexican immigrants are concentrated in Southern Texas. Bexar County, especially San Antonio, is the historic center of Tejano culture.[citation needed] Duval County has one of the highest concentrations of Tejanos.[citation needed]

Famous Tejanos

See also


  1. ^ Texas - QT-P9. Hispanic or Latino by Type: 2000 U.S. Census Bureau
  2. ^ "Tejano Patriots". bexargenealogy.com. http://www.bexargenealogy.com/index_Tejanos.htm. Retrieved 2008-10-04. 
  3. ^ Tejano Origins in Mexican Texas
  4. ^ Census and Inspection Report of 1787 of the Colony of Nuevo Santander performed by Dragoon Captain Jose Tienda de Cuervo, Knight of the Order of Santago, with Historical Report by Fray Vicente Santa Maria.
  5. ^ Tejano History
  6. ^ Hispanics in Texas-Tejanos
  7. ^ The Residents of Texas, 1782-1836, The Institute of Texan Cultures, TXGen Web Project, Texas Census Reports, transcribed by Michaele Burris:
    • Census report of (San Fernando de Bexar), 9 February 1782 Residents of Texas, 1782-1836, Vol 1, pp. 39-44.
    • Census report of the Mission of San Jose de San Miguel de Aguallo. Residents of Texas, 1782-1836, Vol 1, pp. 44-46. 19 November 1790
    • Census report of the Mission of Our Father San Francisco de la Espada. Residents of Texas, Vol 1, p. 46. 22 November 1790
    • Census report of the Jurisdiction of La Bahia del Espiritu Santo. Residents of Texas, 1782-1836, Vol 1, pp. 47-54. 1790
    • Year of 1790 General Census Report [Bexar] Residents of Texas, 1782-1836, Vol 1, pp. 58-74.
    • Census report of Villa of San Fernando de Austria, Capital of the Province of Texas. Residents of Texas, 1782-1836, Vol 1, pp. 75-92. December 31, 1792
    • Census report of Mission of San Antonio Valero, Dependency of the Villa of San Fernando. Residents of Texas, 1782-1836, Vol 1, pp. 93-95. December 31, 1792
  8. ^ 1784 Census of El Paso, Texas (Timmons, "The Population of El Paso Area- A Census of 1784", New Mexico Historical Review vol. LII (1977):311-316).
  9. ^ 1787 Census of El Paso (Census of the El Paso Area, 9 May 1787" enumerated by Fray Damian Martinez and Nicolas Soler, Juarez Municipal Archives, roll 12, book 1, 1787, folios77-142).
  10. ^ Alex Loya, chapter 4 "Colonists Not Conquistadors".
  11. ^ Gene Hill,"Americans All, Americanos Todos"
  12. ^ Gilbert Y Chavez’ "Cowboys-Vaqueros, Origins of the First American Cowboys"
  13. ^ Lawrence Clayton, "Vaqueros, Cowboys and Buckaroos", 2001.
  14. ^ Alex Loya, chapter 15 "The Legacy and Heritage of the Spaniard Texians".
  15. ^ TSHA Online - Texas State Historical Association
  16. ^ Mexicans in the U.S.A: Mexican-American / Tex-Mex Cousine; by Etienne MARTINEZ
  17. ^ Robb Walsh. The Tex-Mex Cookbook (New York, Broadway Books, 2004), XVI
  18. ^ Everyone Loves A Latin Girl (in French)
  19. ^ Interview with Sarah Shahi
  20. ^ The Celebrity Database

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