Texas dates its individual history with the signing of the Declaration of Independence at old Washington on the Brazos, March 2, 1836. Prior to that period the changes through which it passed were marvelous. Indians, French men, Spaniards, Mexicans, Texans, Americans, Confederates and Americans, each in turn have controlled for a time its destinies. Robert Cavalier, Sieur de la Salle, conducted the first Europeans to Texas. He commanded the squadron of fourvessels and 300 men who landed near the entrance to Mata gorda Bay February 18, 1685. Later the colonists built on the Lavaca River a fort which they called Saint Louis. La Salle went to search for the Mississippi River, and was killed in 1687 by his own men. The Indians attacked Fort Saint Louis and killed and scattered the colonists, thus ending French rule in Texas. Little was done after this to settle Texas until 1715. Per manent occupation by Spain may date from this year. La Bahia was settled in 1716, Nacogdoches in' 1732, and Vic toria soon after. Missions were built; and each mission had a presidio, for church and fortress, cowl and carbine were ever together for mutual protection. Spain held Texas for upwards of 150 years. Following the revolt of Mexico from the rule of Spain, the first grant from the Mexican government to found an American colony in Texas was dated January 17, 1821. It was given to Moses Austin, a native of Connecticut, and father of Stephen F. Austin. The father, Moses Austin, dying suddenly, the son undertook the work of carrying out his father's plans. Austin's first colonists arrived on the Brazos River late in December, 1821. On the first of Jan uary, 1822, Austin named the creek upon which he and his party had camped New Year's Creek. The country watered by the Guadalupe, Colorado and Brazos rivers was explored, and the town of San Felipe de Austin was laid out on the Brazos in 1823. In the spring the emigrants realized that they had found a most beautiful country. There was plenty of fish and game, and great herds of deer and buffalo grazed peacefully upon the prairies. The thickly wooded forests, where wild birds warbled, were equally divided with the boundless prairies where innumerable wild ﬂowers bloomed in profusion. Even at this early period the myriads of blue bonnets that carpeted the broad prairies and faded into the cerulean distance, 'excited wonder and admiration; and they were known as the colonists' loveliest ﬂowers.