More than 250 years ago, a group of fifty-six (56) Canary Islanders were the first civilians to settle in San Antionio. San Antonio which had many missions and a presidio was very small in population. This marked the first time that settlers would develop a civil settlement in the area that we now know as San Antonio, Texas. In 1730, land was becoming very scarce in the vocanic Canary Islands. The Canary Islands were off the western coast of North Africa and was a Spanish possesion. Desperate for new opportunities, they asked King Phillip of Spain to allow them to settle in any of the newly founded Spanish colonies in North America.
Spain and France were enemies during this period. King Phillip woried that the French were desiring to colonize some of the land claimed by Spanish explorers. The king offered the people who desired to leave the Canary Islands free passage to New Spain to counter French desires of these disputed areas. Ten families agreed to move to what we know is Texas. He provided them with money, supplies and land.