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Baltasar de Zúñiga y Guzmán (1658 – 1727), the 2nd Marqués de Valero, was Spanish viceroy of New Spain from 1716 to 1722. Painting: Juan Rodríguez Juárez; Courtesy: Archivo General de Notarías, Mexico City.

Within two years, Viceroy Marqués de Valero directed Governor Don Martín de Alarcón to mount an expedition and establish a presidio (a military garrison) and settlement here. And Father Olivares was appointed to go along and make his vision of a mission a reality.

Governor Alarcón—along with soldiers, their families, and livestock—arrived on April 25, 1718. Because he had taken a different route, Father Olivares arrived shortly afterwards, on May 1, 1718, and immediately broke ground just west of San Pedro Springs. He built a hut of brush and wild grapevines, offered Mass, and established the first (but not the last) site of Mission San Antonio de Valero. Just a few days later, in a ceremony held on May 5, 1718, Governor Alarcón founded the Presidio San Antonio de Béjar. He named it in honor of the viceroy’s family.

With this, the story of Bexar County and the City of San Antonio truly and officially begins—all because of a little (but mighty) creek.

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