San Antonio, Texas Historical Facts

Having been established as a Spanish military post in 1718, which became the famous Alamo, you can discover all about the fight for independence and the spirit that the great city of San Antonio still possesses to this day.

San Antonio, Texas in the 18th Century

Modern day San Antonio rests upon the ruins of the Coahuiltecan Indian Village, today known as La Villita Historic District. The buildings of this district stand as reminders of the past Mexican, European, and Anglo American settlers who called La Villita their home. In 1691, Spanish missionaries and explorers flocked to the land on Saint Anthony’s Day and dubbed the river, San Antonio River. During the year 1718, the Spanish military built a military post called Mission San Antonio and later named the Alamo.

The Battle of the Alamo

The Alamo stands as a symbol of freedom to Texan citizens. On the date of February 3, 1836, a Mexican force numbering about 2,000 reached the outskirts of San Antonio under the command of Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, general and dictator of Mexico. San Antonio had recently been captured by Texan insurgents the December before and Colonel William Barrett Travis was currently held up at the Alamo with 155 soldiers. There weren’t just soldiers, however, there were also 15 civilians, a black slave, and a few Mexican families. Santa Anna attacked the Alamo from all sides with his 2,000 men. The Texans were later reinforced on March 1 with 32 men which included Davy Crockett and James Bowie, but their numbers were overwhelmed by Santa Anna’s forces. Colonel Travis’s men lasted against the Mexicans until March 6 where they perished in the struggle. In the end, all 187 of Colonel Travis’s men fell and only the civilians remained. The Mexicans were not left unscathed, their losses totaled in the 600’s.

The Battle of San Jacinto

The last battle of the Texan war of independence from Mexico was fought on April 21, 1836 and is known as the battle of San Jacinto. The location of this battle is near to modern day Houston, Texas. After the massacre at the Alamo, Santa Anna met with the forces of General Sam Houston. General Houston made a surprise attack on Santa Anna’s men with forces numbering 800. The battle that ensued on the banks of the San Jacinto River between Santa Anna’s 1300 men and Houston’s 800 lasted only 20 minutes. Santa Anna was captured and eventually signed a treaty releasing the state of Texas from Mexican rule and the war was finally over.