The Alamo Today
On a recent trip I had occasion to go to the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas.
I remember studying about the Alamo from elementary school and maybe later in High School.
What I remember about it is pretty sketchy. I do remember Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie died there. There was a massacre. Hopefully your rememberance of the events are more realistic than mine.
I forgot that the Alamo was built in 1724 and was one of five missions headed by Spanish missionaries and their Indian converts. It was operated in this mannor for nearly 70 years. In 1794 Spanish officials secularized the missions and gave the land to the local Indians. San Antonio started to take shape soon after that.
The Alamo got its name from Spanish occupation and was named after Alamo de Parras, Spain. It means “cottonwood” in Spanish. The Alamo also served as a stronghold for various Spanish, Mexican, and Texian groups. and the Texian colonists fought to hold the land later known as Texas, through the Texas Revolution.
In December of 1835, Texian and Tejano troops took over the Alamo taking it once again away from the Mexican troops. The Texicans strengthed it’s defences. The term “Tejano”, in this sense describes local inhabitants who were sympathic to the Texian cause.
Battle of Alamo
Final Assault on the Alamo
A few months later on February 23rd of 1836, the Alamo was attacked by surprise by General Antonio Lòpez de Santa Ana and a very substantial group of troups. The Alamo troops were very out numbered. Despite this the Alamo troups headed by Commander William B. Travis, willingly fought for their lives and for Texas regardless of the odds.
Even with desperate pleas sent by Travis for additional troop support, only a handful got the word in time to actually join the troops. During the battle Colonel Travis, then Alamo’s Commander, drew a line in the sand and told his troops to cross the line if they wanted to defend the Alamo. All but one did. Total number of troops only numbered about 200.
The final assault of the 13 day battle came early morning on March 6th, 1836 during the pre-dawn darkness. An overwhelming amount of Mexican troops scaled the walls and descended on the troops. They used their opponents’ cannons on the internal buildings. Santa Ana was ruthless and from first hand reports from local residents living outside the Alamo, the ground and walls inside the compound were covered in blood and bodies.
A short time later due the magnitude of the slaughter, Sam Houston, leader of a Texan group of soldiers north of the Alamo, coined the phrase “Remember the Alamo”. Inspired by their bravery and with the determination of defeating Santa Ana, he and his army of Texians won back the Alamo. The Texan Revolution was over and Texas was severed from Mexico.
The men who died there were not just from Texas. From the colonies or the existing states. The came from Pennsylvania, Virginia,Vermont, Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Georgia, Kentucky, New York an other States. Men even were there from Germany and Denmark. And there was John, a Black Freedman.
This demonstrates the spirit which has made this country the best in the world. I would encourage you to tour some of our country’s historical sites and see the grandeur that is ours.