This Day In History: Benjamin Edwards Declares The Republic Of Fredonia In Texas (1825)

In an act that many believe was the forerunner of the American rebellion in Texas Benjamin Edwards declared the independence of Texas and himself as its ruler. Edwards rode into Mexican-controlled Nacogdoches, Texas, and to the amazement of many he boldly proclaims himself the ruler of the Republic of Fredonia.

Benjamin Edwards was the brother of a corrupt businessman who had tried to found a colony in Texas. The colony was failing in large part to the malpractice of Edward’s brother. In order to save the colony Edward’s brother was in the US trying to raise more fund. While he was away Edwards who was growing disenchanted with the Mexican government simply declared Texas independent of Mexico. The Mexican government had encouraged immigrants from the US to settle in Texas in order to develop the region’s resources. They were granted land and even offered Mexican citizenship. Many Anglo settlers came to resent the Mexicans believed that they were heavy-handed and too keen to restrict their rights and liberties. Soon there were mutterings among the Anglo settlers that they would be better off independent or part of the United States. Edwards believed that Texas should be independent and he assembled a small group of like-minded men and seized a stone fort near Nacogdoches and declared a  new  “Republic of Fredonia”. This Republic was to be free from Mexico and the new country encompassed much of western Texas. Edwards also promised that he would govern Texas under the principles of Justice and Equality. He wanted the local Anglo and the Mexican population to rally to his cause.

The Flag of the Republic of Fredonia

Soon the Mexicans heard of the rebellion and they sent an army unit to suppress it and the Republic of Fredonia. Edwards knew he needed allies and he entered into an agreement with the Cherokee nation and offered them extensive lands and rights in Texas if they entered into an alliance with him and his new ‘Republic’. He was able to persuade the Cherokees to lend him military support. However, not many Anglo settlers supported him and many local Mexicans opposed him. When the Mexican army came within sight of the stone fort in Nacogdoches six weeks later, the rebellion quickly ended. Edwards fled to the United States and his rebellion was over. Edwards rebellion was important in that it illustrated the tensions between the Anglo settlers and the Mexican government.  His revolt may have inspired many to stage the successful Texas revolution a decade later. This was eventually to lead to the establishment of the independent Republic of Texas.

The Battle of San Jacinto – when Texas defeated Santa Ana’s army