Location: Robeline, Louisiana
Webpage: Louisiana State Park
General Description: Los Adeas dates back to the early 1700s when a Franciscan missionary, Father Francisco Hidalgo, urged the French governor to establish a post near east Texas. While this may seem counter productive for a Spanish missionary, he knew that this move by the French would encourage Spain to reestablish previously closed Spanish missions and military posts in east Texas. The construction of Fort St Jean Baptiste in 1714 had the desired effect and in 1716 the Spanish established six missions and one fort in east Texas. In 1719, an attack by the French on Mission San Miguel caused Spain to construct a new fort to counter any further incursions. The Presidio Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Los Adaes (Fort of Our Lady of Pilar at the Adaes) was surrounded by a hexagonal stockade with three bulwarks. In 1729, Spain designated Los Adaes the capital of the province of Texas making it the official residence of the governor. It remained the administrative seat for the entire province for the next 44 years. However, life was harsh at Los Adreas. The soil was poor leading to many failed crops and with the nearest supply post over 800 miles away in Mexico, meant there was constant shortages. Without the illegal trade with the French at St Jean Baptiste they would not have been able to survive. In 1772, ten years after Spain was ceded Louisiana following the French and Indian War, the fort was closed and the inhabitants forced to move to San Antonio. However, over 500 soldiers and their families either hid from the evacuation or returned to the area where their descendants live today.
1) Unfortunately, there is very little left of Los Adeas today. Archeologists have located the remains of the stockade and some of the interior buildings. These have been marked out on the ground, but little else remains. The small office/museum has a few exhibits, although if you have the fortune of meeting a local historian volunteering at the time, like we did, you can learn a lot about the history. If not, then there are a few exhibits and a trail guide available.
2) There is a short one mile loop trail that begins in the remains of the fort and then winds through the recovering forest to the site of the Spanish mission and some of the old roads in the area.