Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Alamo - San Antonio, Texas

If you've been watching television today, you have probably seen video of the massive Tea Party at the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas. Thousands of people were on hand but, uniquely, they did not walk on the grass in front of the historic chapel.

In Texas, the Alamo is sacred ground. Originally built as the Spanish mission San Antonio de Valero, the complex was later converted into a fortified post by Spanish soldiers. In 1835 it was captured by Texans and in February and march of 1836, because the setting for one of the most dramatic events in American history.

For thirteend days, a force of fewer than 200 volunteers held the Alamo against overwhelming odds as thousands of Mexican troops led by General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna attacked the crumbling mission. Their stand was among the most heroic in American history and the defenders included Texas-born Tejanos, volunteers from across the South and at least one free African American. Leaders inside the mission included William B. Travis, David Crockett and Jim Bowie.

The defenders held out knowing that they would die if the Alamo fell. Santa Anna had raised a blood red flag of no quarter from a church tower in San Antonio. Instead of slipping away while they still could, however, Travis and his men remained and fought to the death. With the exception of a few noncombatants, a Tejano soldier who was mistaken for a Mexican prisoner of war and possibly one man that went over the wall on the last night, every man in the Alamo died.

In recent decades, revisionists have tried to recast the nature of the fight at the Alamo, even using extremely sketchy evidence to suggest that David Crockett surrendered near the end of the battle. The strongest evidence, however, indicates that Crockett went down fighting and despite such efforts, the story of the Alamo remains one of the most inspiring in American history.

To learn more, please visit our new Alamo pages at

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