September 28, 2016

On The Road: San Antonio - The Alamo

The Alamo
A short stroll from the River Walk, you'll find the historic Alamo tucked in a busy part of San Antonio. This structure, Mission San Antonio de Valero, a Franciscan mission, is most widely identified with the Alamo. The entire site encompasses about four acres and is free and open to the public. And, we listened in on a brief lecture about the history of how Texas was settled, the brutal loss of life at the Alamo, and how Texas ultimately joined the United States -- all very interesting!

In the 1820s, Stephen Austin brought American settlers to Texas (then owned by Mexico and known as Texican) where they could purchase land for 12 cents an acre interest-free for 6 years with three caveats:  (1) They had to become a Mexican citizen; (2) They had to learn Spanish; (3) They they had to have a good reputation and character.  After awhile, the Mexican government became concerned about what was going on so far away in Texas.  The settlers were becoming too independent and they wanted to invoke the American judicial system to resolve legal disputes.  Ultimately, a war for independence from Mexico began.  In 1836, Mexican forces (historians place estimates at a staggering number: between 1,800 and 6,000 soldiers) attacked the Alamo, which was defended by just 200 Texas volunteers. Amazingly, the Texans defended the Alamo for 13 days before being overwhelmed and just a few were spared. The survivors were ordered to tell other Texans they would suffer a similar fate if they continued to revolt. Two months later, Sam Houston led an attack on Mexican troops in San Jacinto declaring "Remember the Alamo!", which led to Mexico withdrawing and nine years later the U.S. annexing Texas.  

The Alamo
Some Alamo history buffs were on the grounds in period attire demonstrating how the men defending the Alamo would have loaded their rifles.  As I recall, they were expected to go through all the motions and be ready to fire in just 20 seconds.  In addition to being strong willed and tenacious, the Texans must have been well trained to hold the Alamo for nearly 14 days.  Remember the Alamo!


Lowell said...

I don't know what I expected, but the first time I visited the Alamo, I remember being terribly disappointed. It seemed so small and unpretentious and just didn't fit all the patriotic hysteria in the history books ! And I don't understand people who want to dress up and play war...but they are a funky looking group. 😝

whq said...

Thanks for the Alamo post! These history buffs are entertaining and informative. Love the period garb, representing their different professions, highlighting the transcendent power of self determination. Remember the Alamo!

Kay said...

I haven't spent much time around reenactors but those I've seen in photos always look like interesting characters. It's a different way to interact with history.

I'd forgotten the details of the Alamo. Thanks for summarizing it here.

PerthDailyPhoto said...

Hi there SRQ, have just been enjoying your San Antonio posts, loved the rainbow over the crocodile's head, what a super shot 😊 Looks like you are enjoying some traveling times, happy to enjoy the trip with you!

Jack said...

The Alamo is surprisingly small, isn't it? I expected something massive.

William Kendall said...

The smallness also strikes a chord- one expects bigger. The history of the Texas rebellion fascinates me- and Houston strikes me as one of the great figures of American history. A complex but compelling man.