The King of Spain wished to establish eight missions in East Texas with forts to guard them. Officially referring to the lands above the Rio Grande as the “Province of the Tejas,” he urged that Domingo Terán be appointed governor of the new province. On 23 January 1691, the Count of Galvez appointed Domingo Terán de los Ríos to serve as the first governor of the Spanish province of Coahuila y Texas.
An infantry officer and governor with twenty years’ experience, Terán ably led his small army from a base camp in Monclova on May 16, 1691. In addition to building the missions, his orders were to find the most direct route and name the rivers along the way, keep a diary detailing the land and cultures he encountered, establish friendly relations with the Tejas, and gather information about any European “invaders” and take them captive.