Several Native American tribes inhabited this area because of the fresh spring water available. The expedition of Domingo Terán de los Ríos of 1691, followed the "El Camino Real" (today a National Historic Trail) which crossed the Guadalupe River near today's Faust Street Bridge. Subsequient French and Spanish expeditions, including those of the Marqués de Aguayo and Louis Juchereau de St. Denis, commonly passed through this area. In 1825, a Mexican land grant gave title of the area around the springs to Juan M. Veramendi. During the eighteenth century, the springs and river (which had been called Las Fontanas and the Little Guadalupe respectively) took the name Comal, Spanish for "flat dish" and Guadalupe.
1836 saw the formation of the Republic of Texas after years of bloody battles with the Mexican Government who had a claim on this territory. In order to pay off war debt and weaken political ties with Mexico, the new nation of Texas offered public land to Americans and Europeans. The offer, in conjunction with political strife in their home country, enticed a group of German nobleman to form an immigration company named Adelsverein. German immigrants began to arrive in Indianola, Texas in December 1844 and make their way to San Antonio. On March 13, 1845 Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels, Germany, entered into an agreement with Maria Antonio Garza and her husband Rafael E. Garza for 1,265 acres of the Veramendi land grant for a sum of $1,111.
The first wagon of immigrants arrived on Good Friday, March 21, 1845. Prince Solms and his engineer, Nicholas Zink, selected a town site. The town had an open square with streets radiating out at right angles. The original town included 342 lots, each with a narrow street frontage so that the town could remain compact and defensible yet provide street frontage to as many lots as possible. This urban plan was popular in German scholarship of the nineteenth century and set New Braunfels apart from other Texas towns and is still evident today.