Tejano History

Medina River

Tejanos |

       MEDINA RIVER. The Medina River rises in north and west prongs that originate in springs in the Edwards Plateau divide of northwest Bandera County and converge near Medina (at 29°48' N, 99°15' W). The river then flows southeast for 116 miles to its mouth, on the San Antonio River in south Bexar County (at 29°14' N, 98°24' W). The first European to see the river was Alonso De León, governor of Coahuila, who led his expedition across Texas in 1689 in pursuit of the French. De León noted in his diary that he named the stream for Pedro Medina, the early Spanish engineer whose navigation tables he was using in mapping his route through the wilderness with an astrolabe. On other old maps the river is designated variously as Río Mariano, Río San José, or Río de Bagres—Catfish River. For a time it was considered the official boundary between Texas and Coahuila and shown as running to the Gulf of Mexico, with the San Antonio River labeled as a tributary. Later the designations were reversed, and, along with Cibolo Creek, the Medina has been regarded as a tributary of the San Antonio. On August 18, 1813, bearers of the green flag of the Republican Army of the North, fighting to uphold the declared independence of Mexico from Spain, met defeat in the battle of Medina at the river southeast of San Antonio de Béxar. Hundreds of rebel troops were killed by forces under Spanish general Joaquín de Arredondo. At the same site on March 2, 1836, Gen. Antonio López de Santa Anna paused in his march from the Rio Grande in order to gather forces for the final approach to Bexar and the engagement with Texans in the Alamo. Diarist José Enrique de la Peña mentions resting at the river, the making of plans, and carrying out such tasks as assigning horses to dragoons. In the midst of the excitement over impending battle, Peña still took note of “the little stream whose banks were rich with pecan trees.”


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

   Courtesy of the Texas State Historical Association.