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? Join the Museum of South Texas History on Sunday, Aug. 4, at 2 p.m. in welcoming author and researcher Jorge Luís García Ruíz for his Sunday Speaker Series presentation and book signing of “Texas. The False Origin of the Name.”
Historical documents report that, during Alonso de Leon’s 1689 expedition, Fray Damian Massanet met with New Spain natives who greeted their group with the word techas as a sign of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.
About Museum of South Texas History
The Museum of South Texas History is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. It is located in downtown Edinburg at 200 North Closner Boulevard on the Hidalgo County Courthouse square. Hours of operation are from 1 p.m.–5 p.m. Sunday and 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Tuesday–Saturday. Founded in 1967 as the Hidalgo County Historical Museum in the 1910 Hidalgo County Jail, the museum has grown over the decades through a series of expansions to occupy a full city block. In 2003, following the completion of a 22,500 square foot expansion, the museum was renamed the Museum of South Texas History to better reflect its regional scope. Today, the museum preserves and presents the borderland heritage of South Texas and Northeastern Mexico through its permanent collection and the Margaret H. McAllen Memorial Archives and exhibits spanning prehistory through the 20th century. For more information about MOSTHistory, including becoming a FRIEND, visit MOSTHistory.org, like us on Facebook and Instagram, follow on Twitter, find on YouTube or call +1-956-383-6911.