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Canaries - LOUISIANA 1763

The earliest Spanish families to arrive in San Antonio came here in 1731 from the Canary Islands soon after the founding of the missions, and it was they who began construction of a church on this spot, laying the cornerstone in 1738. San Fernando Cathedral is more than just another San Antonio landmark. It embodies the very soul of this great city, as it occupies the west side of La Plaza de las Islas, or Main Plaza as it is more commonly known.

Most of their homes were situated close by this area, and the church, which is America's oldest continuous parish, was to become the center of their religious life. The mission chapels were all being used to educate and Christianize the Indian population of the area, and the missionary priests were far too occupied with their own endeavors to minister to the new Catholic settlers from the Spanish islands. The Isleños have dominated the fishing and farming industries, especially sugarcane.

These early settlers had little money and few skilled laborers, so the construction of their church went slowly. The building was not ready to receive worshipers until 1749. The first communion class was finally confirmed by the Bishop of Guadalajara in 1758.

Video narrated by Canary Islanders in Louisiana Video


Los Islenos Heritage & Cultural Society
1357 Bayou Road
St. Bernard , Louisiana 70044

Canary Islands Descendants Association
P. O. Box 1586
Chalmette, Louisiana 70044

Canary Islanders Heritage Society of Louisiana
2230 Allene Street
Brusly, Louisiana 70719-2961
(Formerly called: "Los Isleños de Galvez Heritage and Cultural Society")

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