Nolan Expeditions [1791-1801]
NOLAN EXPEDITIONS. In the decade between 1791 and 1801 four expeditions were made to Texas from neighboring Spanish Louisiana under the leadership of Philip Nolan. Due to Nolan's links with the nefarious Gen. James Wilkinson, these expeditions are generally considered to have had a political character and were regarded by early historians as filibusters. In view of the lack of documentary evidence, however, these expeditions are more correctly described as horse-catching operations motivated by personal profit rather than as revolutionary efforts to free Texas from the rule of Spain. Nolan made his first entry in 1791, armed with a passport from the governor of Louisiana (Esteban Miró) and bringing a small quantity of trade goods. He was viewed with suspicion by the Texas authorities, and his goods were confiscated. Nolan then spent two years among the Comanches and other northern tribes above the Spanish settlements. He turned hunter, sold skins, and captured fifty wild horses, which he drove to Louisiana in late 1793 or early 1794.