Against the orders of the Governor of Cuba, Hernando Cortez set sail for Mexico on 18 February 1519. Perhaps he chose that day because the weather was fine and he wanted to get and early start before the Spring storms. More likely, he left quickly so that he could at least pretend that he was unaware of the governor’s orders recalling the expedition.
Alonzo Alvarez de Pineda set sail in pursuit with orders to catch Cortez and drag him back. He failed. He also failed to discover a river route to the Pacific Ocean. But during one retreat from the sea, he harbored his ships at the mouth of the Rio Grande River. When Pineda and his men disembarked to map the area and resupply with fresh water, they became the first Europeans to set foot on Texas soil.
Copies of Pineda’s map of the Gulf Coast still exist.