Illicit Trade Networks in Spanish Texas

Author(s): Casey Hanson

Year: 2015


This poster presents the results of an investigation of the contraband market and frontier trade networks that existed in Spanish Colonial and Mexican Texas. The archaeological record dating to the late 18th and early 19th centuries in San Antonio is defined by the appearance of English-made goods, predominately refined English earthenwares, illegally imported from New Orleans. This investigation compared artifact collections and documents from the Bexar Archives spanning the Colonial Period through Mexican Independence to examine the origins of contraband trade in Spanish Texas and to document the changes in the illicit goods market during this period. The results suggest that although the French/Spanish illicit trade networks in the mid-1700s are widely considered to constitute the "golden age of Spanish smuggling on the Texas-Louisiana frontier," (Galan 2008: 203), significantly more evidence of contraband trade exists in both the archaeological and archival records following the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.The evidence recovered through this study highlights the complex social relations and trade networks involving Tejanos, Anglo-Americans, indigenous groups, and a wide range of other players who had a significant role in the development of the region’s identity in the 19th century.

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Cite this Record

Illicit Trade Networks in Spanish Texas. Casey Hanson. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 398140)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections


Contraband Tejano Trade

Geographic Keywords
North America - Southwest

Spatial Coverage

min long: -115.532; min lat: 30.676 ; max long: -102.349; max lat: 42.033 ;