Facts About The Alamo

If you've ever heard the battle cry, "Remember the Alamo!" you might have wondered exactly how this fort and the battle that occurred there fits into Texas history. Initially, Texas was part of Mexico. Eventually, the people who lived in Texas wanted independence from Mexico so they could become a republic of their own. This wish for independence resulted in a war that is known as the Texas Revolution. Mexican troops fought against Texian defenders, and the Battle of the Alamo was an important turning point in the Texas Revolution.

The Alamo

In 1835, the Texas Revolution officially began with the first shots fired by Texians as they tried to defend a cannon in Gonzales, Texas. More battles happened between the two sides throughout 1835 and into the first months of 1836. The Texians managed to drive all of the Mexican troops out of Texas, and they wrote their own declaration of independence in early March of 1836. Their declaration stated that Sam Houston was the official commander of the Texas military. However, while this was going on, the Mexicans invaded, and the Battle of the Alamo took place between February 23 and March 6.

Originally, the Alamo was called the Mission San Antonio de Valero. This mission stands in downtown San Antonio near the San Antonio River. Originally, the mission was the home of peaceful missionaries, but the mission was taken over by the Mexican military in 1800. These soldiers changed the name to the Alamo after the Spanish word for the cottonwood trees that grow on the grounds around the mission. Years later, Texians invaded to take over the Alamo, and then the Mexicans returned to take it back. During the 13-day siege at the Alamo, Mexican troops led by Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna waged an all-out assault on the Texians inside the building.

The Texians were very outnumbered, having only about 200 in their group. On the other side, the number of Mexicans isn't certain, but it could have been as many as 6,000. For 13 days, the small group of Texians managed to hold off the Mexicans. The Mexican troops fired cannons and rifles relentlessly, trying to wear out the Texians inside. The small group of Texians sent messages out looking for reinforcements, and they fully expected that more troops would arrive to help them defend themselves against the Mexicans. Unfortunately, these reinforcements never came. Although the Texians fought back valiantly, they were defeated on March 6. Gen. Santa Anna's troops killed almost everyone inside the Alamo, sparing just a few people in the end.

After the Alamo fell, Gen. Santa Anna forced the few survivors to spread the word about the Texians' loss at the mission. This caused the remaining settlers and Texian troops to panic and run away from the Mexican troops. Eventually, though, they regrouped and rose up against the Mexicans to fight for Texas. Their battle cry became "Remember the Alamo!" because they were fighting against the Mexicans' brutality and control. On April 21, 1836, the Texians won the Battle of San Jacinto, which led the way to the end of the Texas Revolution.

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By: Jim Olenbush