Texans like to include the French flag among “The Six Flags Over Texas,” but the honor is doubtful, because the French government never controlled Texas nor governed it.
However, it did lay claim to Texas territory in 1682, when Robert Cavelier, sieur de La Salle, a trader in Canada, traveled down the Mississippi to its mouth, and in the name of the king of France claimed the territory drained by the river all the way to “the mouth of the River of Palms,” the Rio Grande. And it’s true that the French flag was flown over Texas soil after La Salle went back to France and returned with 280 persons in four ships to establish a colony. In February 1685, he landed at Matagorda Bay on the Texas coast and set up a crude stockade, Fort St. Louis, inland on Garcitas Creek, near present-day Vanderbilt.
It was an ill-fated venture--doomed by ship wrecks, loss of many lives and supplies, crop failures and Indian attacks. On March 20, 1687, La Salle was assassinated by some of his own men. When the Spanish Governor Alanso de Leon of Coahuila reached the ruins of Fort St. Louis on April 22, 1689, he found no one. Some had wandered away; most had been killed. Later, the Spanish governor learned what had happened from two of La Salle’s men living among the Indians. [Richardson,IV, 19- 201
--Frank Jennings, 1992
R. N. Richardson, Texas, the Lone Star State, 1943
R. N. Richardson, Adventuring with a Purpose, 1951.
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