Dr. Marie Saldaña will join us to present:
"The Rio Grande Settlers: a family history, 1577–1848"
The lower Rio Grande valley was the locus of a Spanish colonization effort in the mid-18th century that planted the seeds of Hispanic presence in South Texas. Civilian settlers from closely related families were drawn to the new colony of Nuevo Santander from surrounding areas of northeastern Mexico, where they had lived for centuries. Lured by new land grants along the Rio Grande and in the “wild horse desert” below the Nueces river, they occupied a frontier that had not yet become a borderland and brought with them a well-established Spanish ranching tradition. This early-stage study uses digital methods to understand the origins of the families who settled in the Villas del Norte; to uncover their relationships with each other and to the early history of northeastern New Spain; and to identify their legacy in the increasingly at-risk material culture of the region’s architecture.
Marie Saldaña is the Academic Technology Specialist for History and part of Stanford Libraries Center for Interdisciplinary Digital Research (CIDR). Her work incorporates disciplines such as architecture, history, and archaeology to investigate historical built environments and their social contexts. She received her M.Arch. and Ph.D. in Architecture from UCLA, and is an 11th-generation Tejana.