In the 1830's there was almost an effort to establish a Belgian colony in Texas. The Belgians were anxious to establish formal relations with the young Republic of Texas, but since Mexico still refused to recognize Texan independence they feared offending the Mexican government. King Leopold I of the Belgians sent an official to Texas to observe and report back as to the viability of establishing a Belgian colony. Strapped for cash, the Texas government asked Belgium for a large loan as a prerequisite to a diplomatic treaty. The Belgian government refused to grant the loan and so the dream of a colony ended then and there. However, there were many Belgians who accompanied French colonists in La Reunion and they eventually tried to establish their own Belgian colony at Louvain but frequent flooding meant that most of these people moved on to Dallas and Ft Worth.
With his new name, Anton Dutchallover fought in the Mexican-American War, surviving unscathed except for the loss of the "all" from his new name and he was known thereafter as Anton Dutchover. He adapted quite well to his new life in Texas and became a frontier scout. He even joined the legendary Texas Ranger Big Foot Wallace as shotgun rider on his runs between San Antonio and El Paso. In spite of the hostile climate of West Texas, along with even more hostile Indians and violent Mexican bandits, Anton Dutchover decided this was the place for him. He settled down and started a sheep ranch at Limpia Canyon and supplied soldiers at nearby Fort Davis with food. Dutchover remained at the fort during the Civil War, carrying on as usual whether under Union or Confederate rule. Dutchover started a family and they, along with four others, hid during a violent attack on the fort by Apache Indians. They stayed on where they were until 1867, when Federal troops reoccupied Fort Davis and stopped all further Indian attacks. The descendants of the Belgian soldier, scout, rancher and Indian fighter still live in West Texas today.
Another wave of Belgian immigration came following dramatic events in Mexico. In 1864 the Austrian Archduke Maximilian became Emperor of Mexico. His wife, the Empress Carlota, was a Belgian princess, the daughter of King Leopold I, and many Belgians accompanied her to Mexico. Some came to settle, others with the Belgian military corps that gained quite a reputation for their victories over vastly superior revolutionary forces. However, by 1866, the French, who had supported Emperor Maximilian, withdrew their troops and with the United States backing the liberal forces, the Mexican Empire soon collapsed and most of the Belgians in Mexico were forced to flee across the Rio Grande to south Texas. In fact, for a time there was hardly a town in the Rio Grande Valley without a Belgian community.
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