French culture area

FrenchIn the 17th Century the French, from their base in Canada, were exploring the interior of North America. French traders, hunters and trappers ranged far down the rivers below the Great Lakes, dealing more successfully with the Indians than had the English or any other of their European rivals for colonial empire in the New World.

On September 2, 1844, the 27 original settlers of Castroville crossed the Medina River 25 miles west of San Antonio. They were part of more than 700 people sent from France by Henri Castro to land that had been promised them in Texas. The settlers first made shelters out of reeds beneath the great pecan trees near the river’s edge and later built French-styled stone houses in Castroville. The community was the initial settlement west of San Antonio and was continually harassed by Indians. More settlers flowed into the community, and in 1848, Castroville was named county seat of newly formed Medina County. The French pioneers survived a 15-month drought, a crop-devouring cloud of locusts and a cholera epidemic. They remained, however; and the land healed itself, once again becoming the fertile valley they first knew. The railroad bypassed Castroville in 1880, and the county seat moved in 1892. The town thus maintained the personality of an early French village with many examples of historic architecture.

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