What today is known as “The Alamo” in Texas became famous for the battle waged there during the Texas Revolution against Mexico. The Alamo was a mission called, Mission San Antonio de Valero and was home to the priests and Indian converts for seventy years before the battle took place.
The mission was built in 1724, but in 1793, Spain removed the priests from these missions and turned the land back over to the local native Indian residents. Now owning the land, they continued to farm the area which became a part of the growing community of what was then called, San Antonio de Béxar, and is today San Anontonio, Texas.
In the early 1800’s, Spanish soldiers were garrisoned at the mission. The commander referred to it as “The Alamo” after his home town of Alamo de Parras, Coahuila. Since that time, The Alamo has been used as a military barracks and even hospital for Revolutionaries, Royalists, rebels and even Mexicans during the long struggle for independence in Mexico from Spain.
The Texas Revolution was a fight between American settlers in the area to gain freedom from Mexico. Originally, settlers came to the area, now known as Texas, taking land grants from Mexico and establishing an American community that was not part of the United States, but ruled by Mexico. Led by Sam Huston they tried to live peaceably under Mexican law which became more harsh and random, forcing them to want the freedom they had enjoyed under the flag of the United States.
Calling themselves Texians, they formed an army and began to defend the settlers while their leaders met to determine a constitution and government if freedom was won. During this time, many settlers in Texas where undecided whether to fight or just try to get along with Mexico.
It was the brutality of General Santa Anna at the Battle of The Alamo that inspired many Texians and citizens from the U.S. to join the army and fight for the freedom of Texas. The Battle of The Alamo became a turning point for the Texas Revolution.
Prior to this battle, the Texians fighting as a revolutionary army had driven the Mexican troops out of the area of Texas and back into Mexico. In October, 1835, General Martin Perfecto de Cos arrived in San Antonio de Béxar with 1200 troops now stationed in town. This brought Texian troops to town, some around the mission, The Alamo, on the outskirts of town. In October and November there were skirmishes in and around San Antonio. On December 5, 1835, The Texians fought their way into town in what is known as the Battle of Béxar and won. Colonel James C. Neill then received orders to take command at San Antonio de Béxar with about one hundred men that ended up garrisoned in The Alamo.
On February 23, 1500 Mexican troops marched into San Antonio and more skirmishes took place between them and the Texian army. In the early morning of March 6, The Mexican Army attacked the Alamo. The one hundred Texians inside withstood the onslaught for 90 minutes and then all but two were killed. Those that surrendered were executed.
In the early 20th-century, the State of Texas purchased the land and buildings that comprised The Alamo making it a popular tourist and historical site. Many feel that it stands for the strength to fight for freedom that is handed down throughout the history not only of Texas, but of the United States.
The one hundred men within the Alamo had the opportunity to leave – to leave the area and join the large Texian Army some distance away. It was their choice to stay and make a stand. They wanted to show the rest of Texas that they were willing to die for their freedom. These men, under James Neill, include people like Jim Bowie, William B. Travis, Davey Crockett, and many others known to Texas history.