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Sunday Speaker Series: Texas, the False Origin of the Name

August 4, 2019 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

What does the word “Texas” mean to you? Most will say that the name comes from the word tasha, which in the Caddo indigenous language, means friendship. But was this history based on truth? Author and researcher Jorge Luís García Ruíz will present “Texas. The False Origin of the Name.” during the Sunday Speaker Series.

Historical documents report that, during Alonso de Leon’s 1689 expedition, Fray Damian Massanet met with New Spain natives who greeted their group with the word techas as a sign of friendship. Based on this report, American historian Herbert Eugene Bolton came to the conclusion, in 1907, that the word “Texas” means “friendship.” Over time, this explanation was adopted by state government, the result of which can be seen in everything from safe driving campaigns to Texas being nicknamed the “friendly state.”

García Ruíz works as an independent researcher and historian in the Spanish colonial history of Texas. From his studies, García Ruíz found that in 1606 this territory was already called Tejas. García Ruíz proposes an alternate explanation that the name Texas probably has its origin in the word texa, or texo, as it was written in old Spanish. These were the names given to a very familiar, sacred tree in Spain. Curious to learn more? García Ruíz’s book will be available for purchase in the Museum Store, after his presentation, where FRIENDs of MOSTHistory receive 10% off their total purchase.

Born in Madrid, Spain, García Ruíz currently resides in San Antonio, Texas. García Ruíz holds a degree in tourism and historic heritage and a Master’s degree in archeology from the Autonomous University of Madrid. He also holds a master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Barcelona. Currently, he is a doctoral candidate in history from the Autonomous University of Madrid.

Sunday Speaker Series is included in the fee for regular museum admission. FRIENDS of MOSTHistory are admitted free as a benefit of FRIENDship and must present their FRIENDship card at the Admissions Desk.

This program is made possible with generous support from the Carmen C. Guerra Endowment. Mrs. Guerra was deeply committed to supporting educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley. This named endowment was created at the museum by her family to honor her memory and to continue her commitment to providing opportunities for education to the community.


August 4, 2019
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm