Independence Trail Region


A change of river locations by Spanish colonizers helped establish Goliad, considered one of the oldest Spanish colonial municipalities in the state. Goliad grew up around Mission Espiritu Santo and its royal protector, Presidio La Bahia, both relocated in 1749 from the banks of the Guadalupe River to the San Antonio River. Goliad soon found itself in the thick of things. The town served as staging ground for overcoming Spanish colonization efforts, battleground against Mexican control, ground zero for Texas Independence (known as the Goliad Campaign of 1835), and epicenter for the Cart War, a racially motivated conflict between Anglo Texans and Mexican Texans involving wages charged for performing the same job; Mexican Texans simply charged less. The Cart War conflict resulted in unauthorized executions, carried out by hanging from the “Cart War Oak”, a large oak tree still standing on the Goliad courthouse lawn. A shared tragedy ultimately brought the community together in 1902 when a tornado destroyed more than one hundred buildings, killing one hundred fifteen people, and injuring another two hundred and thirty. Today, Goliad residents enjoy a shared sense of place that includes a beautifully restored Goliad County Courthouse, a renovated downtown (Goliad is a recognized National Main Street City), along with the Civilian Conservation Corps reconstructed Mission Espiritu Santo at Goliad State Historic Park and its Presidio La Bahia, a National Historic Landmark.