Nacogdoches ( NAK-ə-DOH-chis) is a small city in East Texas and the county seat of Nacogdoches County, Texas, United States. The 2010 U.S. Census recorded the city’s population to be 32,996. Nacogdoches is a sister city of the smaller and similarly-named Natchitoches, Louisiana, the third-largest city in the Southern Ark-La-Tex. Nacogdoches is the home of Stephen F. Austin State University and Texas’ largest azalea garden. Local promotional literature from the Nacogdoches Convention and Visitors Bureau describes Nacogdoches as “the oldest town in Texas”. Evidence of settlement at the same site dates back to 10,000 years ago. It is near or on the site of Nevantin, the primary village of the Nacogdoche tribe of Caddo Indians.
Nacogdoches remained a Caddo Indian settlement until the early 19th century. In 1716, Spain established a mission there, Misión Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe. That was the first European construction in the area. The “town” of Nacogdoches got started after the French had vacated the region (1760s, following the French and Indian War), and Spanish officials decided that maintaining the mission was too costly. In 1772, they ordered all settlers in the area to move to San Antonio. Some were eager to escape the wilderness, but others had to be forced from their homes by soldiers. It was one of the original European settlements in the region, populated by Adaeseños from Fort Los Adaes.
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