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Navarro, José Antonio, 1795-1871



Born in San Antonio to an aristocratic mother and a successful merchant as well as alcalde of the city, José Antonio Navarro (1795-1871) became the most influential Tejano of his generation. As a young man Navarro supported the Gutierrez-Magee expedition, which aimed to seize Texas from Spanish rule. However, the attempt failed and Navarro fled to the United States to avoid execution. He returned to Texas in 1816, believing the brightest future for Texas lay with Anglo-American colonization. Navarro began his political career, first winning a seat in the state legislature of Coahuila y Tejas and later to the national congress. As a politician, Navarro advocated pro-colonization policies and Texas statehood in Mexico. During the Texas Revolution Navarro broke with Mexico and was elected to represent San Antonio at the Convention for Texas Independence. Additionally, he was one of three Mexicans to sign the Declaration of Independence and helping draft the Constitution of the Republic of Texas.

After independence, Navarro continued his political career, representing Bexar in the Texas Congress, where he worked to protect Tejano land claims and other rights. Navarro also took part in the failed Sante Fe expedition and was captured by Mexican forces and convicted of treason, though he was able to escape and return to Texas under threat of execution. A supporter of Texas annexation, Navarro was the only Tejano delegate at the Convention of 1845, where he helped write the first state constitution while successfully protecting Tejano citizenship rights, such as voting. Following annexation, Navarro served two terms in the Texas Senate. After retirement, he continued to advocate for Tejano rights, condemning Sam Houston for associating with the Know-Nothing Party and writing articles and a book about the contributions made by Tejanos to Texas independence. Navarro supported the Confederacy and his four sons served in the army before his death in 1871.


"José Antonio Navarro." Texas State Library and Archives Commission. Accessed July 21, 2011.

Found in 8 Collections and/or Records:

Frederick Charles Chabot papers

Identifier: urn:taro:utexas.cah.01261

Correspondence, research, bibliographies, books, photographs, and other research materials relating to the career of Frederick Charles Chabot (1891-1943), historian.

Dates: 1810 - 1981

Green C. DeWitt papers

Identifier: urn:taro:utexas.cah.00401
Scope and Contents

Papers include a letter from DeWitt (1787-1835), empresario, to the Commandant of Arms at La Bahia, reporting clashes with Indians in DeWitt's Colony and requesting troops for protection, as well as a power of attorney (1827) signed by DeWitt, appointing James Kerr acting empresario for DeWitt's Colony; and a fragment of a typewritten transcript of an anonymous letter describing events and conditions in Gonzales, DeWitt's Colony, 1832.

Dates: 1827 - 1832

Peter Gallagher diary

Identifier: urn:taro:utexas.cah.01739

The Peter Gallagher Diary, 1841-1842, contains a transcript of his diary kept during the Texan Santa Fé Expedition. The diary describes the expedition party’s capture, imprisonment, and forced march to Mexico and discusses the weather, sickness and death, camp locations, food supplies, and activities engaged during the march.

Dates: 1841 - 1842

John Hunter Herndon papers

Identifier: urn:taro:utexas.cah.01258

Correspondence, diary, legal documents, and military documents relating to John Hunter Herndon (1813-1878), and his journey from Kentucky to Texas in 1837-1838.

Dates: 1814 - 1872

Louis Lenz collection

Identifier: urn:taro:utexas.cah.01578

Materials collected by Lenz after his retirement concern the early history of Texas and its settlement, particularly by the Canary Islanders in San Antonio and the Germans in South Texas; the Texas Revolution; and the Texas Republic. Louis Lenz (1885-1967) was a civil engineer and Texana collector.

Dates: 1688 - 1966

David McDonald Spanish Census records

Identifier: urn:taro:utexas.cah.03628

The David McDonald Spanish Census records, 1779-1780, 2018, is comprised of copies of Spanish Census records, both civilian and military for Béxar (1779) and La Bahía (1780).

Dates: 1779 - 1780; 2018

Jose Antonio Navarro papers

Identifier: urn:taro:utexas.cah.02978

Composed of Photostats and photocopies of original letters, notices, a report, and a biography, the José Antonio Navarro Papers, 1830-1853, chronicle his political career.

Dates: 1830 - 1853

Henry H. Vollentine collection

Identifier: camh-arc-004847

The Henry H. Vollentine collection, 1831-1969, includes materials collected by Henry and Genevieve Vollentine regarding Gonzales County and other Texas history, as well as printed penmanship ephemera.

Dates: 1831 - 1969

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