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The Second American Revolution: How Texas Became a Country

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb
The Truth Network Radio
October 31, 2022 3:02 am

The Second American Revolution: How Texas Became a Country

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

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October 31, 2022 3:02 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, the official Texas State Historian Monte Monroe tells the sweeping story of how the Texas we know and love today found its footing as a nation in response to tyranny and oppression.

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It's a little gift to give yourself. Find your cheer on the Starbucks app today. This is Lee Habib and this is Our American Stories, the show where America is the star and the American people.

You search for the Our American Stories podcast, go to the iHeart Radio app, the Apple podcast or wherever you get your podcasts. Up next, the story about the only state in our nation to join us as a nation. I'm of course talking about Texas. Here to tell the story of how Texas gained its independence from Mexico is Monte Monroe, the Texas state historian.

Take it away, Monte. I think it's necessary to tell just a little bit about the first group of Europeans that came into this geographical space that we now call Texas, the Spanish conquistadors. Prior to the discovery of the new world, Spain had suffered under an extended period of war from about to 711 AD when the Moors from Africa invaded Spain. They pushed the inhabitants all the way back across the Iberian Peninsula to the vicinity of what is today France. Ultimately, a small group of Spanish Christians defeated the Muslims at the famous battle of Covidanga and this marked the beginning of the so-called Reconquista or Reconquest period of Spain, which lasted over 774 years.

That struggle took place. It ended basically in 1492 when Isabella and Ferdinand, who had unified the Iberian Peninsula to a large extent, forced the Muslims out of Granada following a 10-year siege. It's in this atmosphere of this general nationalistic expansion that Columbus made his great discovery of the so-called new world. His discoveries started this period of maritime reconnaissance and inland conquests that brought great wealth to Spain and of course led to what would ultimately become Texas. The conquerors of the Indies, known as the Adelantados or the ones out front, were also driven by medieval tales about the seven cities of Cebola.

The seven cities go Ponce de Leon, explored Florida, looking for the Fountain of Youth, another one of these mythical stories that had been passed down during the period of the Reconquista. Balboa, of course, searched for gold in Central America. Other great explorers, Spanish explorers, moved into the interior. Cortes, as we well know, conquered the Aztecs by 1521. Francisco Pizarro in 1513 discovered the great Inca Empire and its fabulous wealth, and just to give you an idea of what we were talking about when we say fabulous wealth, Pizarro with literally 150 to 170 men neutralized an Inca force of some 80,000 and they reaped the benefit of roughly 13,500 pounds of gold.

Okay, that s a lot, and over 26,000 pounds of silver. The thing that s remarkable about this whole period is within 20 years, Spain had conquered an empire larger than Rome s had ever been. By 1618, we start to see the establishment of San Antonio de Valero, what we call today the Alamo is established. The Indians in that region didn t necessarily get along with each other, so there were various missions that were established among various groups. They flourished for a while, became ranching centers in the center part of what would become Texas. The Spanish brought in huge herds of cattle and horses that would ultimately be important after the Civil War for more modern-day Texans. By 1731, you literally have Spanish colonists from the Canary Islands that come to Texas, and they re the ones that found the first civil jurisdiction within Texas, and it s called the Via of San Fernando de la Bejar, which becomes San Antonio.

Ultimately, Spanish interest in Texas starts to wane. There are problems in Spain itself, but by 1760 or 1759, Charles III, who was the king of England, part of the Bourbon dynasty, he was a reformist, and he wanted to reform Spanish colonial institutions. To do that, he wanted to undermine the existing bureaucracies to economize things and, of course, have more money come back to Spain than stay in the new world.

Ultimately, these reforms only had limited success, and that will lead to the Spanish government looking to change the situation by around 1800. What happened was, at the same time, you literally have what we call filibusters coming in from Louisiana and other places, like Philip Nolan was an American filibuster. He was coming in trying to find wild mustangs to capture these horses to sell in the United States. He even attempted or was perceived by the Spanish to attempt insurrection. He was ultimately killed near present-day Hueco. His people were taken captive, and they wound up working the mines in northern Mexico. Spanish officials realized that Texas had economic potential, but they had to have the right kind of folks in there.

Okay? And so, even though Spain's many-century role in what would be the history of Texas was coming to its nadir, they felt like they had to do something. And you're listening to Texas state historian Monte Monroe telling the story of how Texas became an independent nation. And of course, it began with the Spanish exploration of the Americas.

And from there, well, so much more. This story is not just a story of U.S. history and Texas history. In the end, it's a world geography course as well.

When we come back, more of this remarkable story of how Texas became an independent nation here on Our American Stories. Folks, if you love the stories we tell about this great country, and especially the stories of America's rich past, know that all of our stories about American history, from war to innovation, culture, and faith, are brought to us by the great folks at Hillsdale College, a place where students study all the things that are beautiful in life and all the things that are good in life. And if you can't get to Hillsdale, Hillsdale will come to you with their free and terrific online courses.

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Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there. And we return to our American stories and the story of Texas. When we last left off Monty Monroe, the Texas state historian was telling us about the conquerors of the new world, the Spanish, and how they desired to see the large swath of land that would become the Texas we know and love today developed economically.

Let's continue with the story. As Spain is starting to lose their grip on Texas, colonization becomes stagnant. The Spanish realized this and they realized they had to instigate something to keep their toe hold in what was then Tejas. What they did was that they reached out and they created a plan called Defensive Immigration. And what they wanted to do was find the right kind of so-called Anglo-Americans to move into Texas to serve as a buffer not only against the Apache and the Comanche but also against other Americans.

But they wanted to draw them in and make Texas an economically viable place. They look for Americans who could speak Spanish or were willing to speak Spanish, who were Catholic, and they found one such person who had been at that time living in Spanish Louisiana. This man's name was Moses Austin.

He was a former Spanish subject. He was a friend with a Texan, the Baron de Bastrop, and he made a request to bring 300 families to Texas and settle in land between the Colorado and Brazos River. But ultimately, Moses Austin dies in 1821 and he calls upon his son Stephen F. Austin on his deathbed to fulfill his dream of bringing colonists to Texas and that's what happened.

He issued over 1,500 grants and brought in over 4,000 people and that was a larger population than during the entire 300-plus year history of Spanish colonial efforts. By the end of the Mexican period and right at the cusp of the Texas Revolution, you have some 20,000 immigrants who had come from the Mississippi River Valley in the southern states, had come to Texas, and by 1835, the population of Texas, not counting Native Americans, was over 30,000 people. So that was a huge influx of people into Texas by that time. But by 1830, the Mexicans decided that they needed to have a little bit more control over Texas because by then there are a number of things that are occurring that frighten them about the number of Americans coming in and the motivations of the Americans that were coming into Texas. In 1826, the impresario Hayden Edwards had gotten into conflict with some of the older residents by Barbos in East Texas. He went over to the United States and Louisiana and he raised an independent army.

He came back. He started the so-called Fredonia Rebellion, declared part of East Texas independent from Mexico. So the Mexicans started to realize they were going to have a problem. Thankfully, they had the right man in Texas during this period and that person was Stephen F. Austin.

Austin brought together his militia forces from his colony and he was able to put down the Fredonia Rebellion. But the Mexicans saw this as clear evidence that Anglo Texans secretly wanted to join the U.S. So what they did was start to clamp down that brought about a law that would set Texans on a trajectory towards revolution and that was the so-called law of 6 April 1830. It banned further immigration from the U.S. It prohibited trade with the United States. There were to be no more slaves imported into Texas. No more land could be taken up along the border with the U.S. And convict soldiers were to be garrisoned near the borders to enforce immigration policies. So Texans weren't very happy with it. The aftermath of this law kind of has parallels to the American colonies because Mexico, like Britain, was attempting to reassert its control over her territory and to tax them. That should sound familiar and this led to a reaction in Texas, as you might suspect.

You had a revolt at Anawak. The Mexican government had established a new presidio or fort at Anawak to guard the coast of Texas and enforce tariff or tax laws. The Mexican commander at the presidio there at Anawak was the Texans thought he was more like a military occupier. His name was Colonel Juan Davis Bradburn. He was an Irishman but was a Mexican citizen working for the Mexican government and he tended to impose arbitrary rule.

He impressed supplies from the colonists and slave labor as a matter of fact. He ultimately arrested a young lawyer by the name of William B. Travis for trying to release some runaway slaves that were held at the presidio or the fort there at Anawak and so that caused the Texans to lay siege to Bradburn's garrison in 1832 and there was a standoff and ultimately intervention by moderates like Stephen F. Austin and the rebels pulled back to a little creek or a little bio called turtle bio and they drafted a pro-federalist. In other words, the type of document that you would expect Americans to draft where you have a dispersal down to local government not a centralized government which Mexico is increasingly starting to become as we'll find out here in a minute and they write this turtle bio resolutions in their defense. They said we're loyal Mexican citizens. We claim loyalty to the so-called federalist ideas of the constitution of 1824 but we're against these increasingly central centralist notions that are starting to emerge in Mexico.

Ultimately, Mexican authorities replaced Bradburn. Most of the Texans that were living in Texas at that time condemned these radicals and the majority adhered to a so called peace party and this was led by Stephen F. Austin who is a major player in all things leading up to the Texas revolution and the establishment of Texas as a republic. He sought to handle grievances through political and legislative means versus through reactionary means as such had happened with William Travis.

In contrast to the war party, the peace party in October of 1832 held a meeting called the consultation of 1832 and they voiced their complaints to Mexican officials ultimately. They wanted the law of 6 April 1830 repealed. They especially wanted tariff reductions. They wanted to lift restrictions on immigration. They wanted more local control. They wanted independent statehood for Texas. Texas at this time is paired with the Mexican territory of Coahuila and the Texans wanted more independence. They wanted their own legislative body.

They wanted to be able to appoint their own government officials and they wanted funding for primary schools. Well these resolutions never got past the authorities in San Antonio because the consultation was considered an extra legal or illegal gathering. Well because nothing came of these first complaints the Texans met again at San Felipe for another consultation but at this consultation there were new leaders and these are leaders that will start to have a prominent role in Texas politics.

For instance, one of the new leaders of the consultation of 1833 was Sam Houston, a name that virtually everybody is familiar with. State sovereignty battles over immigration and who controls whose destiny and sovereignty? Questions then they were fighting about? Questions today? Citizens around the world are still fighting about the story of how Texas became an independent nation as told by Texas state historian Monty Monroe.

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To learn more, visit Bose.com. Wherever you get your podcasts, brought to you by State Farm. Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there. And we return to our American stories in the story of Texas with Monty Monroe, the Texas state historian. When we last left off, Monty was telling us about the empresario system, a land grant policy by the Spanish and then Mexican governments which brought Americans like Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston to Texas. This policy would eventually come to haunt the Mexican government as some Americans began to revolt. In response, Mexico would issue a law that would infringe upon the rights of many. This led to Texans attempting to consult with the Mexican government and the first attempt would fail. Nevertheless, they decided to try again.

Let's return to the story. At this consultation, there were new leaders and these are leaders that will start to have a prominent role in Texas politics. For instance, one of the new leaders of the consultation of 1833 was Sam Houston, a name that virtually everybody is familiar with. He was a protege of Andrew Jackson. He had been former governor of Tennessee in 1827.

He had been a U.S. Indian agent living in the so-called Indian nations in what is today Oklahoma among the Cherokee. These guys became vocal and they had different opinions from Stephen F. Austin. They opposed the authoritarian government that had existed in Spain and Mexico believing that Mexico like Spain was governed by something called the unholy alliance of the church and army and the large landowners who tended to dominate. This consultation ultimately sent Stephen F. Austin to Mexico City to present the grievances. They just bypassed the authorities in San Antonio and by January 1833, Santa Ana is elected the new president and initially he embraces federalist principles and so everything seemed fine. He immediately retires, he goes to his home, he installs one of the preeminent liberal federalists, Valentin Gomez-Farias, as the interim president and Gomez actually worked to weaken the power and privileges of the unholy alliance. Even Santa Ana met with Austin and agreed to revoke the law of April 6, 1830 but refused to separate Texas and Coahuila, you know, fearing that if you separate those Texans out there, they're going to drift towards the United States. Well, prior to this breakthrough, Austin had become frustrated down in Mexico. He couldn't seem to get answers to his questions and he sent a letter back to the Texans telling them to prepare to seek independence on their own.

Well, that letter would ultimately haunt him because by May 1834, Santa Ana comes out of his self-imposed retirement. He returns to power not as a federalist but as a conservative centralist, supporter of the church and the military and he removes Gomez from office and Austin's letter is intercepted. Santa Ana has him arrested for treason.

He's in prison for a year following his return to power as a centralist. Santa Ana calls for new congressional elections that brought a centralist conservative majority into the national congress. It replaces the Constitution of 1824 with something called the siete leis or the seven laws which dissolve the state legislatures and replace them with military departments led by presidential appointees.

So what do you have? A military dictatorship that is going to be ruling Texas. Coelha and Texas state legislature rejected these centralist orders but Texans were divided over this call for independence at first but Austin is released from prison. He makes his way back to Texas. When he gets there he throws his support behind the war party.

He's had enough. This former person who was willing to work to achieve the status quo and work within the Mexican government now no longer sees that. Well, Santa Anas and his brother-in-law Martine Perfecto Coss to Texas as the new commandant general under the siete leis. General Coss arrives on the Gulf of Mexico.

He marches in from the bay to Goliad. He reinforces the garrison there then he heads towards San Antonio and that leads us to what we call generally in Texas history the first phase of the Texas revolution. In September the commander of the San Antonio garrison dispatches troops to Gonzales to retrieve a cannon that had been given to the DeWitt colony for protection against the Indians. The colonists refused to turn the cannon over and in a famous confrontation the settlers stretch a banner across the cannon that reads come and take it and then they fire on the Mexican troops. When the Mexicans ultimately withdraw the Texans claim victims and that you can see people going up and down the road with window stickers now in Texas that say come and take it and that harkens back to this confrontation.

A week after this incident at Gonzales in the DeWitt colony troops under Captain George Collinsworth and Ben Milam take the Presidio at Goliad. That victory effectively blocks any water retreat for General Coss and the Mexican troops. So by the end of October the Texas volunteers start to amass. They unanimously elect Stephen F Austin's their first commander in chief of Texas volunteers and they march from Gonzales to Behar and they surround Coss in San Antonio.

Well a number of things happen. In December Ben Milam and Ed Burleson defeat Coss at the so-called Battle of San Antonio and force him to retreat overland to Mexico. Remember Coss is the brother-in-law of Santa Ana. Milam who was a very capable commander was killed during this three-day house-to-house battle. Ultimately after the battle Sam Houston sends Jim Bowie another important name in early Texas history to destroy the Alamo in San Antonio and take the guns from the Alamo to Gonzales and shortly thereafter another famous individual arrives in Texas and that's Davy Crockett. He brings with him about a dozen Tennessee volunteers and Davy Crockett as we know was a great frontiersman had a reputation within the United States as a great frontiersman. He had been a congressman.

He had lost his congressional seat. He said you folks go to hell I'm going to Texas. Travis and Bowie prepared defenses against Santa Ana who they knew would be coming.

He had professed that he has his intention to run every American out of Texas by this time by February. Santa Ana arrives in San Antonio with some 6,000 troops and he immediately lays siege to the old mission and on March the 6th four days after Texas independence is declared at Washington on the Brazos in the Austin colonies there at San Felipe. Santa Ana attacks the small garrison there at the Alamo following the bugle call of the de Guayo which was a Moorish tune for taking no quarter. Santa Ana attacks the Alamo with some 1,800 troops.

All these numbers are subject to argument and debate amongst historians. The Texans numbered somewhere between 182 and 189. They repulsed this first wave of attackers but were ultimately overrun. The battle lasts about 20 minutes. The slaughter lasted for another hour or so. Only Susanna Dickerson and her little daughter Travis's slave and families of roughly nine Tejano defenders were spared. Davy Crockett of Tennessee survived the battle only to be summarily executed outside of Santa Ana's tent. So most all of the defenders of the Alamo were lost.

More of this story here on Our American Stories after these messages. You can watch the FIFA World Cup 2022 on TV or you could go to Qatar and watch it live. Frito Lay, the official USA snack of the FIFA World Cup 2022, is giving you the chance to win two tickets to the FIFA World Cup 2022 final by joining their pass the ball challenge. Just grab a specially marked bag of Lay's, Cheetos or Doritos, scan the QR code and enter for a chance to win. But if you want more entries you gotta pass the ball. The Golden World Soccer Ball that is. The first people to add their picture to the Golden Ball will receive a one-of-a-kind collectible NFT commemorating the experience. And as you pass the ball to fellow soccer fans you get more entries plus custom swag and awesome prizes.

Scan the QR code on specially marked bags of Lay's, Cheetos or Doritos or visit FritoLayScore.com to pass the ball now. When the world gets in the way of your music, try the new Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2, next-gen earbuds uniquely tuned to the shape of your ears. They use exclusive Bose technology that personalizes the audio performance to fit you, delivering the world's best noise cancellation and powerfully immersive sound so you can hear and feel every detail of the music you love. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2, sound shape to you.

To learn more visit Bose.com. What up? It's Dromos. You may know me from the recap on LATV. Now I've got my own podcast, Life as a Gringo, coming to you every Tuesday and Thursday. We'll be talking real and unapologetic about all things life, Latin culture and everything in between from someone who's never quite fitting. Listen to Life as a Gringo on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. Brought to you by State Farm.

Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there. And we return to our American stories and the final portion of our story of Texas with Monty Monroe, the Texas state historian. When we last left off Santa Ana, the so-called Napoleon of the West had risen to power and installed a military dictatorship in Mexico. Rather than live under tyranny, Texans revolted and this would ultimately lead to a bloody and decisive battle at the Alamo.

Nearly every defender there would be killed or executed. Let's return to the story here again is Monty Monroe. Now, there was a problem in all of this. Santa Ana's diversion at the Alamo. He didn't have to go to Behar. He really didn't. But what he was trying to do was recoup General Coss's honor and the family honor.

He didn't have to go to Behar in the first place. He should have gone to San Felipe because the bulk of the Anglo population was situated there. But he diverted himself in at the Alamo and this bought time for Sam Houston to train his meager volunteer troops and it had a great psychological effect on the Texans at that time.

They wanted to reap revenge. And so his delay in San Antonio, I'm talking about Santa Ana now, delaying in San Antonio for three weeks after the battle. In fact, it makes the battle of the Alamo one of the most important turning points in the war for Texas independence. There were other battles at Goliad.

Houston had retreated eastward. He had Colonel James Fannin abandon the Goliad Presidio in advance of the arrival of General Ureo who was one of Santa Ana's lieutenants. But Fannin, for whatever reason, lingered too long. He was ultimately defeated at the battle of the prairie and his men were captured. And a week later, acting upon the orders of Santa Ana, some 350 of Fannin's troops or prisoners of war were massacred.

Some of Fannin's guys were able to escape into the woods. A few of the prisoners of war were saved by the pleadings of the so-called wife of one of the Mexican army officers, SeƱora Francisca Alvarez, the so-called Angel of Goliad. The Angel of Goliad ultimately would be abandoned by her Mexican officer husband.

She would move to Madam Morris and live with her family. And some of those children would be brought by Captain King Richard King from Madam Morris with cattle up to Texas and they would help found the King Ranch and there are many caninos, the King's people, that are descendants of Francisca Alvarez. Now, after Goliad, Houston, when he learns that Fannin had been captured, he moves eastward towards the Louisiana border. And his retreat and the news of Santa Ana's troops on the march prompted fear and a mass exodus amongst the settlers of Central Texas.

This was called the famous runaway scrape. There was crowding at the streams and the crossings and it was raining and it was muddy and usually at this time of year it's always rainy and drizzly in that part of the state. And there were epidemics and cold weather and flooded rivers and misery and the volunteers who were at the river crossings felt sorry for the women and the children who were trying to escape the Mexican army coming towards them. Many soldiers and officers and settlers, even the president of Texas called Houston a coward. But Houston was buying time so he could train his 1400 ill-disciplined troops. Santa Ana ultimately chases the rebel government from San Felipe all the way to Houston or what was Harrisburg then and would ultimately become the city of Houston. Sam Houston moves a little bit further north. He camps up river from San Felipe on the Brazos River and it's here that he takes time to train his army. When he learns that Santa Ana had driven the government, the Texas government from Harrisburg to Galveston and was marching to capture them, Houston decides to move across the Brazos River.

By this time he's received the so-called twin sisters cannons from Cincinnati, Ohio that were a gift. He turns south in pursuit of Santa Ana. Santa Ana moves back to an encampment on Buffalo Bio just south of his junction with the San Jacinto River and that brings us to the culminating event of the Texas Revolution. Houston moves his army of about 900 or so men less than a mile from Santa Ana.

He has a man by the name of Deaf Smith who was Deaf, a county is named after him. He had captured a Mexican courier and he knew where Santa Ana was but Houston on the morning of April the 21st, he has Deaf Smith blow up the bridge over Vince's bio which was the only escape route for either army, either Santa Ana's army or Houston's army. The fate of Texas would be decided at San Jacinto or San Jacinto as some people say. On the morning of the 21st, General Coss arrives in the Mexican encampment with the reinforcement bringing the Mexican contingent to about 1,500 troops because Coss had had them on an all-night forced march. Santa Ana allows the troops to rest and take a siesta and it's right at this time after consultation with his Houston had been playing this all close to his vest but finally he has a council of war with his officers to determine what would happen at San Jacinto. They decide on a surprise attack which occurs between 3 30 and 4 pm while the Mexican army is resting and cloaked by a slight rise between these two camps right where the obelisk is today down at San Jacinto, the San Jacinto monument. Houston's troops got very close to Santa Ana's army and soon the Mexicans are surprised by Texas troops yelling, remember the Alamo, remember Goliad and in 18 minutes the Texans had control of the Mexican camp and the battle was over but the slaughter continued much longer because the Texans wanted revenge and in the end the Texans killed 630 Mexicans and took 720 prisoners. The Texans lost nine men and 34 wounded including Houston who was shot in the leg.

Santa Ana was nowhere to be found. When the Texans attacked he was distracting himself with a so-called mulatto slave girl who ultimately became the inspiration for the song The Yellow Rose of Texas because of the so-called yellow complexion of her skin. Santa Ana was captured the following day, many in the army wanted to hang him immediately but Houston had other plans for the so-called Napoleon of the west. Santa Ana was forced to sign the Treaty of Velasco, actually there was two, there was a secret treaty and there was a public treaty and basically they stipulated that the hostilities with Texas were over, that Texas was an independent republic, that the prisoners were to be exchanged and that Santa Ana would leave and never return.

Santa Ana promised to convince the Mexican congress to ratify the treaty. Texas would remain an independent republic and Mexico could do little about it. This period distinguishes Texas from other states of the Union and when I say the Union I'm talking about the United States because Texas goes through a period as an independent nation prior to becoming a state. And a terrific job on the storytelling and production and editing by Monty Montgomery and a special thanks to Texas state historian Monty Monroe and what a story he told and it turns out with the Battle of the Alamo, well it was a short term win for Santa Ana and his army but in the end the three-week delay and the revenge factor both played a part in Texas's epic win at San Jacinto. The fate of Texas in that battle hung in the balance and in 18 minutes Texans controlled the camp and over 600 Mexicans would be killed. Santa Ana forced to the negotiating table made the claim Texas was an independent nation and would be left alone. And by the way this is the true difference between Texas and the other states in this country and why Texas is always referred to as a state that's different and why Texans well in the end carry themselves a bit differently because in the end Texas is a nation and a state.

The story of Texas how it became an independent nation here on Our American Story. Share your team on live at the FIFA World Cup 2022 final in Qatar. Frito-Lay is giving you the chance to win two tickets by joining their Pass the Ball Challenge. Look for the Golden World Soccer Ball then find friends and score daily entries every time you pass the ball.

Scan the QR code on specially marked bags of Lay's Cheetos or Doritos or visit FritoLayScore.com. When the world gets in the way of your music try the new Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2. Next-gen earbuds uniquely tuned to the shape of your ears. They use exclusive Bose technology that personalizes the audio performance to fit you delivering the world's best noise cancellation and powerfully immersive sound so you can hear and feel every detail of the music you love. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2 sounds shaped to you. To learn more visit Bose.com. Next level beach vacation at Farcela Resorts in Mexico in the Caribbean with CheapCaribbean.com.
Whisper: small.en / 2022-11-07 13:29:57 / 2022-11-07 13:38:14 / 8

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