Moses Austin paved the way for Anglo American colonization of Texas. He traveled to San Antonio, hoping to get a contract from Spanish authorities that would allow him to bring 300 American families to Texas. With the help of Baron de Bastrop, Austin's request for colonization was approved. He died before he could carry out his plans, however. His son, Stephen Fuller Austin, was determined to carry out his father's colonization plan.
Austin's Colony Stephen F. Austin advertised for settlers to come to his colony. He had no trouble finding colonists who wanted to obtain good farmland at a low price. In early 1822, though, the first of many problems occurred when a ship carrying colonists and supplies wrecked on Galveston Island. In addition, Mexico had become independent from Spain and did not recognize Austin's right to colonize Texas. Austin traveled to Mexico City to seek the new government's approval of his colonization contract. There he found much confusion. He also accomplished a great deal, not only gaining approval for his colony but also learning much about Mexican customs, institutions, and language. By the spring of 1825, Austin had issued titles to nearly 300 families, who would become known as the Old Three Hundred. The growing colony set up a center of government at San Felipe de Austin.
Other Empresarios The state of Coahuila y Tejas passed colonization laws requiring colonists to show evidence of good moral character and to become Roman Catholic. Many empresarios, or land agents, sought contracts to set up colonies in Texas. Austin was the most successful empresario, but others included Green DeWitt, Martín de León, James Power, James Hewetson, and Lorenzo de Zavala. The immigrants who settled in Texas represented various nationalities, including Anglo Americans, Mexicans, Irish, and African Americans. Women as well as men suffered in the hardships of early colonial life.