El Camino Real de los Tejas, or "The royal road of the Tejas," was a major overland route across Texas. Originally used in the late 1600s to connect the Spanish missions among the Hasinai ("Tejas") and other tribes in east Texas to the government centers in Mexico, this "royal road" or "king's highway" stretched about 600 miles from the Rio Grande through San Antonio and Nacogdoches to the Sabine River, continuing into Louisiana and terminating at Natchitoches. In time, the missions were phased out, but El Camino Real's route shaped the placement of Texas' population centers and served as a vital link between them and the central government. In the early 1800s, thousands of colonists from the United States arrived via the Camino Real. Today, parts of it have been erased, but other parts are still very much in use as modern highways.