History of Mineral Rights

Remember before the 1860’s  there was no oil, gas or minerals found yet.  We want to give you a little history.  We will update this article, it is just a timeline start we want to include all important information for you, in an easy to read and understandable article.


In 1528 some of the first Spanish settlers set foot in Texas because their ship lost course during a storm and had intended on landing in Florida.

Alavar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, born in Spain in 1490 was one of those settler, and he alerted the Spanish crown of this new land to be explored and colonized.  Pineda mapped the coast of Texas sailing along the Rio Grande.

Other expeditions from Spain came to the Americas. One of these expeditions carried Captian Alonso de Leon and Juan Bautista Chapapria who changed his name to Chapa becoming the patriarch of all the Chapa families in South Texas and Mexico.


Chapa and Leon made a trip in 1689 to Texas writing a book “Historia de Nuevo León: Con Anotaciones Sobre Coahuila, Tamaulipas, Texas, y Nuevo México.”


The information incited the Spanish crown to provide Spanish land grants (mercedes) to individuals willing to settle in Texas. Certain provisions were required: The individual had to be full Spaniard, make a formal petition that took some seven years to approve and the individual took ownership of “porciones,” with a ritual indicating the land be used for the procreation of the human race; they were not to marry Native Americans , and paid no taxes for a certain period of time.


Spanish families from the Canary Islands were induced to take on the long journey into unknown lands, and in 1718 the municipality of San Antonio was established, the first in Texas.


Town lots in San Antonio de Bexar were granted to the Canary Isalnders.


José de Escandón y Helguera colonized the area south and north of the present Río Grande (Río Bravo) in 1749, bringing in families to settle the vast land via Spanish land grants. Thus, family names such as Longoria, Chapa, de la Garza, Falcón, Vela, Hinojosa, Santoscoy, Cavazos, Solís, Guerra, Treviño and others became the original 13 families of South Texas and Northern México during early 18th century.

Private land grants in what is now South Texas did not begin until the mid-eighteenth century.


Spanish royal commission began the work of surveying and granting possession of land to individual colonists at the Rio Grande villas of Laredo, Mier, Camargo, Revilla (later Guerrero), and Reynosa. The commissioners, Juan Armando de Palacio and José de Ossorio y Llamas, were instructed to survey the various settlements and jurisdictions, to distribute the land to individual settlers, and record all transactions.The land was to be divided on the basis of merit and seniority, with the colonists divided into three categories: original, old, and recent settlers.

The commissioners surveyed long, thin strips of land, each with narrow frontage on a water course. These elongated quadrangles were known as porciones. The porciones in each of the five settlements was assigned a number. Many of the grants, especially the larger ones, also acquired names, usually derived from saints’ names, physical or natural characteristics of the region, or events. The grants were finalized by an act of juridical possession several months later. The transactions were recorded in documents known as Acts of the Visit of the Royal Commissioners (Autos de la general visita). Some 170 porciones granted in what is now Texas are entered in the five visitas. In addition to the grants with water frontage, the royal officials also made larger grants at the back of the porciones or along the Gulf of Mexico.


In 1836 the first Congress of the Republic of Texas declared that the Texas boundaries extended to the Rio Grande, but the state of Tamaulipas continued to issue land titles in the trans-Nueces region until the Mexican War ended in 1848.

As a provision of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which ended the boundary dispute with Mexico, the new state of Texas officially recognized the land grants made under Spanish and Mexican rule as valid.


First constitution in Texas passed securing mineral rights.


Texas Constitution amendment, because the Constitution actually supports the owners

“the state released to the owner of the soil all mines and mineral substances therein”

This constitutional provision had retrospective effect; the landowner was given complete ownership of the minerals in all lands that passed from the sovereign before the effective date of the Constitution of 1876. , and what many mistakes in the text about mineral rights but the reference is about taxation, not the surrender of land.

The legislature was getting ready to give the minerals to the state when someone slipped an amendment that gave the rights to landowners at that time. Those were the children and grandchildren of our land grantee and so we as legal heirs have the right to production from unclaimed Oil and gas wells in our ancestral lands. In 1866 there was no oil and gas discovered so the issue was not that important.


Greene v. Robinson.

Rather than holding the Relinquishment Act unconstitutional, the Court “construed” the Act in a way that would pass constitutional muster. It held that the Act did not relinquish the oil and gas to the landowners; instead, it made the landowners the agent of the State for the leasing of oil and gas rights, and granted to the landowner the right to one-half of all bonuses, royalties and other benefits accruing from those leases.




Green Vs Robinson

Texas Constitution

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