The enchanting city of San Antonio, Texas is the ninth largest city in the United States (U.S.). Some of the most memorable attributes embracing the area is a picturesque two-and-a-half-mile River Walk, numerous festivals throughout the year and a story that can’t be matched in American history.
Battle of the Alamo in a Nutshell
In 1830, after nine years of Mexican control, hostilities were growing in the area of San Antonio among U.S. settlers. The original 300 settlers that were brought into Texas by Stephen Austin, under an agreement by the Mexican government, grew to over 20,000 by this time. These hostilities resulted in a restriction on U.S. settlement by frightened Mexican authorities, and in 1833 General Santa Anna took control.
Before long, the U.S. settlers revolted and captured the cities of Gonzales, Goliad and finally San Antonio in December of 1835. As a result of these actions, which were seen as high treason, Santa Anna entered San Antonio with at least 1,500 troops, possibly as many as 2,500, in February of 1836. An estimated 189 men, the pro-independence forces, took refuge at the Alamo.
Due to the fatigue of Santa Anna’s men and the skills of weaponry by the pro-independence forces, the men were able to hold the Alamo for 13 days. This siege ended at dawn on March 6th, when the Mexican troops were able to penetrate the north wall. An up-close, ferocious battle took place for 90 minutes, resulting in the annihilation of the Alamo defenders. This included the death of David Crockett, the famous frontiersman. The Mexican forces lost almost 600 men. By the end of the month, hundreds of men from the pro-U.S. forces were executed for high treason. This was determined to be treason since the original Texas settlers had become Mexican citizens and were given land in exchange for their loyalty.
While all this was taking place, Sam Houston had time to raise an army of 800 Texans and U.S. volunteers. They went up against 1,500 of Santa Anna’s men, winning the battle after only 18 minutes. After Santa Anna was captured, he agreed to recognize Texas independence in exchange for his release. Although the Mexican government didn’t realize this agreement, the soon to be the Republic of Texas remained independent and became the 28th state in 1845.
Remember the Alamo Today
Today, all that remains of the Alamo are part of the walls surrounding the fort and the church (where a convent existed in 1836) itself. The baroque style church was never completed after its construction began in 1744 and is missing a bell tower. It has large carved wooden doors with Moorish-style stonework above them and visitors today will enter the church through one of these entries.
Upon entrance to the church, which is crowded during the holidays, numerous battle memorabilia can be seen. No photography or hats are allowed inside the premises, but admission is free. These items, which Include weaponry used by David Crockett, can be viewed along with a rented audio tour. Across from the church is the Sales Museum which holds additional memorabilia and the gift shop. Also, outside the Alamo is the white marble memorial entitled the “Spirit of Sacrifice” (also known as “The Alamo Cenotaph”), which was created by sculptor Pompeo Coppini to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the battle.
The emotions the battle of the Alamo created are summed-up on a plaque outside the church:
It was here that a gallant few, the bravest of the brave, threw themselves between the enemy and the settlements, determined never to surrender nor retreat, they redeemed their pledge to Texas with the forfeit of their lives- they fell, the chosen sacrifice to Texas freedom. – Newell
Another Key Stop: San Antonio River Walk
Before one leaves San Antonio, visitors must also make a stop along the charming River Walk and its cobblestone walkways. The river is not that wide or deep but stretches a reasonable distance of two and a half miles, equivalent to 21 city blocks. A ticket for a ride on one of the Rio San Antonio Cruises will give each visitor a short history of the area and a pleasant ride, making the $8.25 cost per adult and $2.00 cost per child worth it. Furthermore, there are some pretty decent restaurants right along the river and a good-sized mall. A visit around the Christmas holiday is even more charming as visitors can walk among all the colorful lights. There is plenty to do at San Antonio’s most famous attraction!
A visit to San Antonio will leave any visitor with a strong sense of San Antonio’s authentic history. A tour of the Alamo and a walk along the San Antonio River are just two things to do in the city with numerous cultural attractions, a zoo and even Sea World located within a close distance.