Ortiz Parrilla Gulf Coast Expedition
ORTIZ PARRILLA GULF COAST EXPEDITION. In 1765 Malaguita Indians, natives of the Padre Island vicinity, brought to San Juan Bautista Mission on the Rio Grande reports that white invaders were settling on the “Islas Blancas” near the mouth of the Nueces River. The squatters were presumed to be English. The viceroy of New Spain, the Marqués de Cruillas, responded to this and other rumors of English activity along the Gulf Coast by ordering a two-pronged investigation. On November 2, 1765, he asked José de Escandón, colonizer and governor of Nuevo Santander, to gather all available information on the islands. The following April 19, before Escandón had reported, Cruillas called for exploration of the region by Diego Ortiz Parrilla, who had recently been relieved as interim governor of Coahuila and was serving as commandant of the Coahuila presidio of Santa Rosa del Sacramento. Ortiz Parrilla, the first commandant of San Luis de las Amarillas Presidio on the San Saba River in Texas, had officiated in the 1763 transfer of Pensacola to the British in the settlement of the Seven Years' War. Out of his coastal reconnaissance came the first map of Padre Island and the adjacent coast. His report, added to Escandón's, provided much detailed information on the barrier islands of Texas that had eluded previous Spanish explorers and mapmakers.