Built in the 1800s by the Spanish Empire, the Misión San Antonio de Valero housed missionaries and their Roman Catholic converts until the Spanish military stationed a cavalry unit there. The soldiers occupying the mission soon began calling the site “The Alamo” after the Spanish word for “cottonwood,” or poplar tree. Later, rebels and then the Mexican military were based at the Alamo until 1835 when the Texas Revolution began after land and tax disputes between settlers and Mexico.
The Battle of the Alamo began after Texian settlers ran the military out of present-day Texas and took over the mission. In order to regain the Alamo and therefore Texas, Mexican President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna organized an attack on the mission, which soon became the most famous battle of the Texas Revolution.
Led by William B. Travis, James Bowie, a renowned knife fighter and David Crockett, a frontiersman, the 155 settlers defended the siege of 4,000 soldiers on the Alamo, but were defeated after 12 days by the sheer size of Santa Anna’s army. Though all of the Texians died defending their freedom — their “Victory or Death” mentality sparked the forthcoming revolution.
The crushing defeat at the Alamo spawned a second fight in the Battle of Jacinto, where Texians won their independence while calling the battle cry, “Remember the Alamo!”
The Alamo is more than a building. It’s a symbol of the Texas Revolution with a rich, 200-year history. Now let’s see what you know, with the quiz below!