Spanish Colonial Soldier

Soldados de Cuera in early Texas

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Spanish soldiers, called Soldados de Cuera (leather soldiers) because of their armor, came to Texas in the 1700s to help establish presidios that would protect New Spain's northern border in North America.

Life in presidios (military forts) was hard and dangerous. Soldiers joined in part for the possibility of owning land, and to gain status. The enlistment period was often ten years and they often brought their families along. The soldiers earned about $10,000 a year in today’s value. Commanders, who earned close to the equivalent of $150,000 a year today, controlled the price of clothes and supplies, often making them expensive and causing soldiers to go into debt. 

See this and other artifacts on the Interactive Texas Map

Spanish Colonial Soldier Artifact from Santa Barbara, California
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