We have all heard the cry,“Remember the Alamo!” We know about Davy Crockett’s coon hat and the Bowie knife. Yet who among us knows what actually occurred – and why? It’s an interesting story.
A Very Brief History of the Battle of the Alamo
(February 23 – March 6, 1836)
Once upon a time, the area we know today as Texas was actually Tejas, a state in Mexico that welcomed colonists from the United States. “Texians” are what immigrant colonists from the United States were called, whereas “Texans” (Tejanos or Tejans) were the Texan-Mexicans.
Under the regime of President General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, the Mexican government had become increasingly centralized, had abolished the Constitution, and passed laws that discriminated against the Texians.
Several Mexican states opposed the regime of President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna which became known in Mexico as the Mexican Federalist War.
In March 1836, the Texans and Texians together declared independence from Mexico as the new Republic of Texas.
Santa Anna vowed to personally retake Texas believing that the rebellion was due to interference by the United States of America. He led a force to San Antonio de Bexar where his troops defeated the defenders of the Texian garrison in the Battle of the Alamo killing almost all of the 187 defenders. The Texian bodies were stacked and burned.
Texans’ rallying cries, “Remember the Alamo,” became etched in Texan history and legend.
Only 46 days after the Battle of the Alamo, the Texians, buoyed by a desire for revenge, defeated the Mexican Army in a 18-minute fight on April 21, 1836 at the Battle of San Jacinto and Santa Anna was taken prisoner. In exchange for his life, Santa Anna was forced to order his troops out of Texas, ending Mexican control of the province and bestowing some legitimacy on the new republic although it was never recognized by the Mexican government.
“Fellow citizens and compatriots; I am besieged, by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna. I have sustained a continual Bombardment and cannonade for 24 hours and have not lost a man. The enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise, the garrison are to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken. I have answered the demand with a cannon shot, and our flag still waves proudly from the walls. I shall never surrender or retreat. Then, I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism and everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch. The enemy is receiving reinforcements daily and will no doubt increase to three or four thousand in four or five days. If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible and die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor and that of his country.VICTORY or DEATH.William Barret Travis Lt. Col. Comdt. P.S. The Lord is on our side. When the enemy appeared in sight we had not three bushels of corn. We have since found in deserted houses 80 or 90 bushels and got into the walls 20 or 30 head of Beeves.” Wikipedia
Entrance to The Alamo is always free although a reservation for a timed entry is required to enter The Chapel. You can purchase an Audio Guide or pay for a Guided Tour or for a History Talk.
The Alamo website states: The Alamo is like no where else: the jewel of Texas heritage and a historic destination for the entire family. Discover the place that has attracted the world’s attention for generations.
We paid for the History Talk, but I wish we had done the Guided Tour instead because there was one building open only to those on the Guided Tour. We enjoyed our visit: the talk, the video, the displays were all informative and interesting. We left feeling somber and desiring to understand more. Writing these posts causes me dig a little deeper, if only on Wikipedia, so I can share with you. Remember The Alamo!
Want to learn more? A good story is the “Come and Take It” flag and the Battle of Gonzales.
Until next time when I will Meet You in the Morning for abicycle rideon The Mission Reach.