DURING THE MID-1680S FRENCH EXPLORERS CLASH WITH THE SPANISH
French explorer René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de LaSalle sailed to the Texas Gulf Coast (actually heading for the Mississippi River but missing it by 400 miles) to take the territory of New Spain, which included Texas, away from Spain. The Spanish, in turn, sent Don Alonso de León, Governor of Coahuila, Mexico, with 100 soldiers to confront the French. The group crossed the Rio Grande and several other rivers, naming them the Nueces, the Hondo, the Medina, and the Guadalupe. The Spanish group finally discovered LaSalle’s encampment, however, to no avail. LaSalle and company were long gone due to disease, desertion and attacks by Karankawa Indians.