Founded in 1721, Presidio La Bahia is considered the world’s finest example of a Spanish frontier fort. It was originally located on the banks of Garcitas Creek near present day Lavaca Bay in direct response to French encroachment on the province of Texas. In 1726, it was moved inland near present day Victoria. It was not until 1749 that it was relocated to its present location near Goliad. The original Goliad grew up around the presidio.
During the Texas Revolution, both the Texians and the Mexicans controlled the presidio at some time. But it was the events involving Colonel Fannin's command that has made the presidio sacred ground for Texans.
A Texian army under command of Colonel James W. Fannin occupied the presidio from late 1835 until March, 1836. Despite orders from Sam Houston ordering Fannin to retreat across the Guadalupe River to present day Victoria, Fannin failed to withdraw until it was too late. When Fannin finally did lead his men towards Victoria, his army was over taken by the Mexicans under General Urrea at a place near Coleto Creek. Although Fannin and his men defended their position valiantly for about a day, they were without adequate provisions, including water, and their position afforded them little protection. As a result, Fannin surrendered with what he believed honorable terms on March 20.
|Monument at Fannin Battleground (Battle of Coleto Creek)|
|The chapel at Presidio La Bahia|
|Chapel and courtyard. Fannin was executed off to the right.|