The Alamo is one of the most well known monuments in the state of Texas and has a very interesting history and battle associated with it. It has long been an attraction for people to visit as tourists. The Alamo, which is now the location of a museum is located in San Antonio.
1. Built by the Spanish
The Alamo was built by the Spanish Empire in 1744 and was originally made up of a sanctuary and the surrounding buildings. It was used mainly for educating the Native Americans about Catholicism and Christianity after their conversion.
The Alamo used to be called the mission San Antonio de Valero and was among several missions that the Spanish government formed in East Texas. It was used by the Catholic Church to teach people the doctrines of the Church and was also a fortress. In 1793, the mission was actually abandoned and then ten years later became a fortress for the Mexican Army. Many people say that it was probably this group that gave the site the name Alamo.
3. Conversion to Military Fortress
In 1793, the Mission San Antonio de Valero was secularized and no longer governed by the Church. Most of the tribes of Texas had be Christianized by that time and there was little other use for the mission. The archives of the mission were moved to the nearby San Fernando Church. Part of the complex was used as a hospital and was considered the first hospital of San Antonio.
4. Surrendered to Texan forces in 1835
The Alamo was surrendered by Mexican forces to General Martin Perfecto de Cos in 1835 in the middle of the Texas Revolution. Many improvements were made to the fortress using parts gathered from a church that had fallen down in the complex. Cos retreated from the complex after an attack by Texan forces.
5. Strengthening of the Alamo
After Cos left the Alamo, many Texans believed that the war was over and that there were no more Mexican forces in Texas. 300 of the 400 total soldiers stationed in the Alamo were taken to attack Matamoros. James Neill was in charge of the remaining 100 men and asked for reinforcements, but the Texan government was not yet well organized and couldn’t send backup. The remaining soldiers strengthened the Alamo and set the canons left behind by Cos on the walls.
6. Battle of the Alamo
On February 23, 1836, the Mexican army started a siege to the Alamo for thirteen days. They blocked off the water supply through the irrigation ditch that lead into the complex. The siege unded on March 6th when the Mexicans were victorious at the Battle of the Alamo. This was a very historic battle in the Texan Revolution. All of the men were killed and their bodies were piled up and burned.
7. End of the Texan Revolution
The Alamo was further fortified by the Mexican army after the Battle of the Alamo, although there are no records of what parts were rebuilt and strengthened. When the Mexican army was defeated at the Battle of San Jacinto, the revolution was officially over and the troops stationed at the Alamo agreed to leave Texas. The retreating Mexican armies destroyed many parts of the Alamo and some of the rubble was even sold to whoever wanted it.
8. Return to the Roman Catholic Church
The Alamo was officially returned by the Republic of Texas to the Catholic Church in 1841. When Texas become part of the United States, the complex was still in ruins and was overgrown by weeds.
9. Governed by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas
After their formation in 1892, the Daughters of the Republic of Texas began to try and preserve the Alamo. They became permanent custodians of the property and quarreled over how to restore the buildings. Other attempts were made to transfer the Alamo to control by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, but none has ever been successful.
10. Modern use
The Alamo is a very popular attraction now and over 4 million people visit each year. The museum is very popular, but there is really very little to see at the Alamo now. A history of destruction and rebuilding has wreaked havoc on the complex.