Status: Active Catholic Church and State Park
Known As: Mission Espíritu or Mission La Bahia
Location: 108 Park Rd 6, Goliad, TX 77963
The mission and a presidio were established in 1722 on Matagorda Bay near La Salle’s Fort Saint Louis on Garcitas Creek, to secure the Texas coastline from the French and to convert the local Cocos, Copanes, and Cujanes Indians. The presidio and the mission came to be called La Bahia (the bay).
After an unfavorable reception by the Indians, the mission was moved in 1726 to serve the Tamique and Aranama Indians in Mission Valley. Although successful in its new location, it was moved again in 1749 to a site on the San Antonio River (now Goliad) to deter encroachment by the French and English.
The mission also grew grain, fruit, and vegetables, and traded with other missions. In 1779, the mission Vaqueros conducted the first long-distance cattle drive in Texas, moving cattle to Louisiana to supply Spanish troops fighting in support of American independence from the British.
The mission was officially shut down in 1794, but two priests refused to leave and remained as parish priests until 1830. The presidio remained in service until Mexican Independence in 1821.
The mission was restored by the Works Progress Administration (MPA) between 1935 and 1941, and additional work was done in the 1960s and 1980s.
It is situated in the Goliad State Historical Park, which has recreational and camping facilities.