Why Did the French Come to Texas?

The French immigrated to Texas in the 19th and 20th centuries in search of better social, political and economic conditions. The immigration of French citizens contributed to the growth of Texas by adding business, culture and education to the area.

The relationship between France and Texas dates back to 1685 following explorations by René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle. His expeditions led to trade with Indians of the areas around the Red River and East Texas. A century after Cavelier's exploration of Texas, a commercial treaty was made between France and the Republic of Texas. Signed on Feb. 14, 1840, the treaty increased French interest in the area and prompted the immigration of French citizens to the state of Texas. While in Texas, Roman Catholic missionaries from France established Gallic culture.

In addition to their religious influence, the French also brought a level of interest and sophistication in art and culture to the occupied region of Texas. The cultural influence of France was most notably seen in the architectural style present in the cities of Texas following the French settlement. There were also several statues and bas-reliefs produced in French styles that were unveiled during the Texas Centennial Exposition in 1936.