The Alamo. The site of a battle in 1836 where a group of Settlers from America and other countries were defeated and massacred by Mexican troops. It was one of a series of battles which eventually resulted in Texas ceding from Mexico, becomiNg an independent state that was eventually absorbed by the USA.
The Alamo was a former Spanish Mission, originally known s the Mission San Antonio de Valero, in the area that became the city of San Antonio. These were fortified settlements established so that local Coahuiltecan native Americans could be converted to Catholicism – a vital part of Spain’s strategy for consolidating it’s rule in the region. The fortificatifications provided protection from attacks by hostile Apaches and Comanches.
By the end of the 18th Century, circumstances had changed and the mission was securalised. It became used as a military outpost. And it was here that a group of Texan immigrants, including Davy Crockett and William Travers, who wanted to cede from Mexico found themselves under seige by an army led by General Antonio López de Santa Anna.
Although defeated, “remeber the Alamo” became a rallying cry for the Texan revpbel armies who, not long after, defeated the Mexican army and gained their independence.
Today the Alamo, or at least what’s left of it, is a major tourist attraction right in the centre of the Downtown area of. San Antonio, and only 5 minutes walk from the hotel where I’ve been staying. Originally, there would have been a walled compound with a chapel and some other structures inside. Today all that remains of the original structure is the chapel and the “Long Barrack”. The rest having been demolished and the stone robbed for other buildings a long time ago. There’s a pleasant garden to the back and side and a souvineer shop, built in the Spanish Colonial style, but it’s not original.
The chapel itself has been restored, as can be seen from this watercolour from the 19th Century which I saw when I visited the San Antonio Art Museum.
Inside the Chapel there is a memorial to the fallen (only the Texans, not the Mexican army) which included a number of immigrants from England, Scotland and Wales and a few other countries. And there’s an interesting exhibition about the history of Texas in the. Long. Barracks. No photos allowed inside either building, though.