Silver Concho Worn by Spanish Soldier's Horse
Fine decoration discovered in the ruins of Spanish presidio on the Texas coast
This silver concho, or decorative shell, came from a Spanish presidio on the Texas coast, and was likely used on a saddle or bridle for a soldier’s horse.
During the age of European exploration that followed Columbus's voyages, Texas and much of the American Southwest were considered part of "New Spain." However, Spain paid little attention to its North American territories for almost two centuries, preferring to focus on South America and its gold, silver, and other precious metals. That all changed in the 1680s, when the French explorer La Salle attempted to establish Fort St. Louis on the Texas coast, near present-day Victoria. Although La Salle's efforts ended in disaster, the Spanish realized that they would lose the Southwest to the French if they did not defend their interests.
Presidio Nuestra Senora de Loreto de la Bahía, where this concho was found, was built on the ruins of La Salle's fort. It guarded Mission Nuestra Señora del Espíritu Santo de Zúñiga, known also as Mission la Bahía.
Texas Archeological Research Laboratory, The University of Texas at Austin
Clothing and Accessories
2 5/8" Length X 2 5/8" Width X 1/4" Depth
This artifact is not on view.