Tejano History

Lafora, Nicolas De

Tejanos |

       LAFORA, NICOLÁS DE (ca. 1730–?). Nicolás de Lafora, soldier and explorer, was born in Alicante, Spain, probably in 1730. He entered the Spanish army in 1746 as a cadet in the infantry regiment of Galicia, where he achieved the rank of second lieutenant. Lafora then transferred to the Corps of Royal Engineers and there attained the rank of captain. His active duty included campaigns in Italy, North Africa, and Portugal. He left Spain for Mexico in August 1764, and was selected in 1766 by the Marqués de Cruillasqv, the viceroy of New Spain, to accompany the Marqués de Rubí's massive inspection of the northern frontier of New Spain. By Lafora's own estimate, he traveled 2,936 leagues (approximately 7,600 miles) over a span of twenty-three months. His specific responsibilities included recording day-by-day information on physical features, geographical coordinates, and ethnographic information. Aside from these obligations, he was to assist in compiling maps. On his own initiative he wrote a descriptive account of the provinces of Nueva Vizcaya, New Mexico, Sonora, Nuevo León, Coahuila, Texas, New Galicia, and Nayarit. That narrative, in the words of Lawrence Kinnaird, “is the best single source of information upon the frontiers of New Spain yet found.”


Full article on the Texas State Historical Association's Handbook of Texas Online

   Courtesy of the Texas State Historical Association.