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Posts Tagged ‘Alamo’

Remember the Alamo

Posted in United States  by admin on December 17th, 2009

The Alamo, officially named the San Antonio de Valero Mission, is a former mission and military fort in San Antonio, Texas. It is now a museum drawing people interested in Texas history. When people say “Remember the Alamo”, they are referring to a significant battle in Texas’s Revolution against Mexico. The entire event lasted for thirteen days in February and March of 1836. It is famous for heavy rebel losses and illustrious participants, including the Mexican President Santa Anna and David Crockett.

This mission was first conceived of in 1716 and a Spanish viceroy authorized its construction. As the first in a chain of missions along the San Antonio River, it was intended as a vocational school for Native Americans after their conversion to Christianity. Training options included cattle-raising, weaving, carpentry, and stone masonry. However, the church was not completed until 1757, and mission activity was already waning by the mid-1760s! The Church abandoned the site by the 1790s.

Spanish soldiers, noting the defensive potential of the mission’s 12-foot walls, took over in 1803. In the coming years, Spain and Mexico would battle for control of land in North America. After the Mexican War of Independence in 1821, Texas became part of Mexican territory; it was part of a new state called “Coahila y Tejas”.

The Mexican government encouraged people from the US to settle this land. Hundreds of families, both American and Mexican, accepted the invitation. However, after the land became settled and colonists formed provincial governments, the Mexican government increased centralization of power.

Settlers became uncomfortable with President Santa Anna’s centralizing of government. In their view, the 1824 Constitution of Mexico guaranteed stronger states’ rights. Meanwhile, part of the centralization plan included dividing Coahila y Tejas into two states, one of which was Tejas.

Coahila soon seceded to become part of the short-lived Republic of the Rio Grande. Tejas declared its independence on March 2, 1835 and named itself the Republic of Texas. Settlers provoked the Mexican government early on by taking over military positions in La Bahia and San Antonio. In response, Santa Anna assembled 6,500 soldiers and led many to San Antonio’s Alamo Mission. Thousands of men may have deserted before arrival, but still, they greatly outnumbered the rebels fortressed in the Alamo.

Although they received reinforcements, the Texan rebels were outnumbered and could not sustain more than two weeks of attacks which inside their fortress. Ultimately, the Mexicans penetrated the old mission and killed most of the remaining soldiers through hand-to-hand combat. When the fighting was over, the Mexican forces left only sixteen alive. Most of these survivors were women, slaves, and children.

Although the revolutionaries did not win the Battle of the Alamo, their battle benefited the rebels’ cause overall. Emotionally, the battle stirred up settlers all across Texas and increased their resolve against President Santa Anna. Strategically, Santa Anna’s troops were stalled at the Alamo for two weeks. This allowed General Houston to assemble soldiers and supplies for a critical upcoming battle. Houston would later defeat Mexico in the decisive Battle of San Jacinto. Santa Anna would be captured while sneaking off the next day, and the revolutionaries would go on to win their independence. From 1836 to 1845, the Republic of Texas would be a sovereign state between the US and Mexico.

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The Alamo

Posted in United States  by admin on August 13th, 2008

One of the first things people think about when the state of Texas is mentioned is the Alamo. The Alamo is an historical site located in San Antonio, Texas. Even those unfamiliar with a lot of United States history will likely have been exposed to stories of the Alamo because there have been numerous books and movies regarding the famous battle. The battle of the Alamo is famous because of the historical significance as well as the much reported cases of bravery and valor from the soldiers defending it. It is a classic heroic tale that is all the more interesting because it is entirely fact driven. Exploring the actual battle site of this historic event is an opportunity not to be missed if in the San Antonio area.

In 1836, San Antonio became the site of an historic battle between Texian soldiers and Mexican soldiers when Santa Ana’s army attacked the mission in an effort to retake Texas as Mexican territory. During the battle, the soldiers at the Alamo were highly outmanned but there was no shortage of bravery. Legend states that nobody at the Alamo survived the onslaught. While this is close it is not entirely historically accurate. In addition to the soldiers there were slaves, women and children who were at the Alamo. These people were questioned and released. However, all of the soldiers involved in the battle were either killed in battle or captured and promptly executed. The battle was the beginning of a war that continued on to the Battle of San Jacinto where Texian forces finally drove the Mexicans out of the territory permanently.

Today, the church site is a museum and shrine affording visitors a glimpse into the past and a rare look into the history of Texas and the United States. There are several landmarks within the Alamo and visitors can go on guided tours to learn the rich history and culture of the day. Visitors can tour the battlefield grounds, look at the unique architecture and learn about the purpose of the initial missions. They can also peruse the museum to discover artifacts from the battle itself and learn about the many heroes who fought in the epic battle. Admission to the Alamo is free of charge so tourists are encouraged to come out and learn and experience all the Alamo has to offer.

The Alamo is a significant landmark within United States history and marks a momentous occasion in the founding of the country as a whole. For Texans, the Alamo is a proud reminder of the courage and fortitude Texans still hold dear as characteristic of its citizens today. Tourists are welcomed to visit San Antonio and experience some of that Southern hospitality first hand while exploring one of the nation’s most historic landmarks.

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