MORFI, JUAN AGUSTÍN (?–1783). Juan Agustín Morfi, missionary, teacher, and historian, was born in the province of Asturias, Spain. He moved to America in 1755 or 1756 and became a Franciscan friar on May 3, 1761, at Mexico City. Noted for his learning and for his ability as a sacred orator, he taught theology at the Old College of Santa Cruz de Tlaltelolco and was later a lecturer on sacred theology at the principal monastery of the Franciscans in Mexico. When Teodoro de Croix came to New Spain in December 1776 as the newly appointed commandant general of the Provincias Internas, he decided to make an inspection tour and requested a friar to accompany him as chaplain. Morfi was recommended and accepted the position. On August 4, 1777, the group began the tour that eventually extended through Mexico, Tula, Querétaro, San Miguel de Grande, Zacatecas, Fresnillo, Sombrerete, Durango, Mapimí, Parras, Saltillo, Monclova, San Juan Bautista, and San Antonio de Béxar, then back to Mexico through Chihuahua. On the border between Chihuahua and Coahuila, Morfi must have been separated from the group, for his diary ends abruptly at Las Cruces on February 24, 1778. By March 31, 1778, he was back in Mexico. After his return, he devoted himself to study and writing. In 1782 he was elected guardián of the Convento Grande de San Francisco. He died on October 20, 1783. He is known chiefly for the history of Texas that he compiled after his long and arduous journey.

Malcolm D. McLean, "The Diary of Fray Juan Morfi," Library Chronicle 5 (Spring 1956). Juan Agustín Morfi, History of Texas, 1673–1779 (2 vols., Albuquerque: Quivira Society, 1935; rpt., New York: Arno, 1967). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to:

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, "MORFI, JUAN AGUSTIN," accessed July 16, 2019,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Get this week's most popular Handbook of Texas articles delivered straight to your inbox