Spanish Flintlock Pistol

Light arms were used by Spanish soldiers to protect the missions and presidios

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During the Spanish Colonial period (1690‒1821), Spain settled Texas by establishing pairs of Catholic missions and military presidios (forts). The goal of the missionaries was to convert the American Indians to Christianity and introduce them to Western civilization and trades.  Soldiers stationed at the presidios protected the missions, explored the country, conducted supply trains, carried the mail, and escorted missionaries, colonists, and merchants.

In the late 1700s, the Spanish decided to consolidate their settlements around two main presidios at San Antonio and La Bahía near present-day Goliad. They also began replacing older military equipment with light cavalry arms such as the flintlock pistol seen here.  This smoothbore pistol fires a .72 caliber lead ball. Operating the pistol took both patience and practice. The solider loaded gunpowder in both the muzzle and flash pan before ramrodding a ball into the barrel. Despite the disadvantages, this technology was state-of-the-art for almost two centuries.

See this and other artifacts on the Interactive Texas Map

Spanish Flintlock Pistol Artifact from Wharton County
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