Reminders of French, Spanish and Indian lives at Fort St. Louis and the Spanish presidio site. These artifacts are among some 150,000 recovered during UT-Austin and Texas Historical Commission investigations.
Photo: TARL Collections.
Plagued by mishap, explorer Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle's efforts to locate the Mississippi River took him some 400 miles off course to create 17th century St. Louis--the first French settlement in Texas. Although it lasted less than four years, it had a major impact as explorers grabbed for territory in North America.
Jean-Baptiste Talon, a 9-year-old boy, his siblings and another young Parisian, were all who survived after the Karankawa Indians waged an attack.
Women of the tribe, showing compassion for the children, led them to safety as their fellow French settlers faced certain death. Talon, who lived thereafter among Indians, then Spaniards, gives one of the only accounts of how St. Louis met its brutal end.
His story and that of La Salle are among many chronicled in the new Texas Beyond History exhibit "Native and Early Historic Peoples of the Texas Coastal Prairies and Marshes," the fourth Texas region covered in the Web site's "Prehistoric Texas" series.
The online presentation includes amazing artifacts, interactive graphics, historic photos, and maps, many of which have not been seen by the public, but are now available through interactive galleries such as the Fort St. Louis collection "Traces of French, Spanish and Native Lives."
Many of the artifacts featured are from the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory (TARL) collection. Other new online exhibits feature prehistoric coastal cemeteries with unusual grave offerings, shipwrecks and native fishing camps.
For these and other new exhibits see: