of the Alamo: From its beginning to its devasting defeat
Alamo is world renown as the symbol of heroic courage
in the face of death and the struggle against oppression.
Before it was launched into its present place in history,
it was a simple Spanish mission, run by missionaries
and visited by many significant people throughout its
1718 Mission San Antonio de Valero (the Alamo)
is founded by Franciscan missionaries from the College
of Querétaro, led by Antonio de San Buenaventura
Olivares. The site chosen for the mission is on San
Pedro Creek, west of the San Antonio River. The site
was later moved to the east side.
1793 On the order of the King of Spain, San Antonio
de Valero Mission (the Alamo) is secularized, its ranch
properties distributed among the civilian population.
1803 The mission property is used as military
post. A church parish is established and the remains
of the church are used for services for soldiers at
1811 Soon after the initiation of the Mexican
independence movement, factions in San Antonio become
involved in the struggle. Juan Bautista de las Casas
takes control of local troops, seizes government officials
and proclaims allegiance to the independence cause of
Father Miguel de Hidalgo y Costilla. The success of
the uprising is short-lived; just over a month later,
loyalist residents under Juan Manuel Zambrano retake
San Antonio for the King. Las Casas and other leaders
of the insurrection are tried and executed.
1813 A filibustering army under Mexican native
José Bernardo Gutiérrez de Lara and former
U.S. Army officer Augustus Magee enters Texas from Louisiana
and advances toward San Antonio. After defeating Royalist
troops outside the town, San Antonio is taken by the
rebel army. Spanish governor Manuel Salcedo and other
officials are executed. The victorious Gutiérrez
declares Texas' independence, and drafts a constitution,
though he is soon forced from power and removed from
the province. A Royal force under Mexican leader José
Joaquin Arredando crushes the republican army at the
Medina River and recaptures San Antonio. The years of
fighting leave San Antonio depopulated and economically
1821 The Plan of Iguala assures Mexican independence.
In July, San Antonio officials swear allegiance to the
new, independent nation of Mexico.Carrying out his father's
plan, Stephen F. Austin brings his first colonists to
1823 Agustín Iturbide abdicates as Emperor
of Mexico. Mexican leaders soon begin work on a national
1824 Under the new constitutional government,
Coahuila y Texas becomes a single state, with the capital
1825 Texas becomes a department under state government,
with a political chief residing in San Antonio.
Alarmed by the growth in numbers of colonists
from the United States, the Mexican government seeks
to slow immigration into Texas from the north, while
introducing more new residents from Mexico and Europe.
On April 6, a law passed by the Mexican Congress prohibits
settlement in Texas by immigrants from the United States,
and cancels all colonization contracts. Although repealed
in 1833, this article remains a sore point with the
growing immigrant population.
1833 A second convention at San Felipe de Austin
proposes more changes in government; Stephen F. Austin
presents its resolutions in Mexico. The government of
new president Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna responds to
the complaints, reorganizing local government and granting
Texas greater representation in the state legislature.
1835 The refusal of Gonzales residents to return
a cannon to the Mexican army leads to an exchange of
gunfire. In response, Santa Anna sends troops under
Martin Perfecto de Cos to San Antonio. The Alamo becomes
part of the defenses of the city.
Led by Austin, an army of untrained and often unruly
settlers lay siege to the Mexican army, which held positions
in the Alamo and the plazas of the town. The Texan forces
were victorious in a skirmish near Concepción
mission, and in the "Grass Fight," but the
siege dragged on into November with no agreement on
how to proceed. Called to serve as a commissioner to
the United States, Austin leaves San Antonio in November
and opinion is divided on how to proceed until Ben Milam
rallies the force to an attack on December 5. After
five days of fighting, during which Milam is killed,
the Battle of Bexar concludes with the surrender of
Mexican forces. Cos agrees to withdraw to the south,
leaving Texas under the control of the rebel army.
1836 February 3 William Barret Travis
and a small group of reinforcements arrive at the Alamo,
then under the command of James C. Neill.
February 8 Former Tennessee congressman David
Crockett arrives at the Alamo with a group of volunteers.
February 12 With the departure of Neill, Travis
is elected commander of the regular army forces at the
Alamo, while Jim Bowie is chosen to lead the volunteers.
February 23 The Mexican army under Antonio López
de Santa Anna reaches San Antonio. The Texan force retreats
into the walled Alamo compound.
March 1 Thirty-two men from Gonzales join the
besieged forces at the Alamo.
March 2 Texas Declaration of Independence is
approved by delegates meeting at Washington-on-the-Brazos.
March 6 The attack upon the fortified Alamo begins
before dawn. When the fighting ends, all of its occupants
other than women, children, and Travis' slave Joe, are
dead. Losses to the attacking Mexican army are estimated
to be at least 600.
March 20 Following a battle near Coleto Creek,
the Texan force led by James W. Fannin is captured.
March 27 On the order of General Santa Anna,
Fannin and a force of almost 350 men are executed at
April 21 After retreating eastward for more than
a month, the Texan Army defeats the larger Mexican force
at the Battle of San Jacinto, capturing General Santa
Anna and securing Texas' independence.
May 14 The Treaties of Velasco are signed by
Santa Anna, promising the cessation of hostilities and
the withdrawal of Mexican troops to below the Rio Grande.
September The Constitution of the Republic of
Texas is approved by vote; Sam Houston is elected president.
1837 Colonel Juan Nepomuceno Seguín, military
commander at San Antonio, presides over the burial of
the ashes of the defenders of the Alamo. The battered
mission and fortress then stood virtually abandoned,
a symbol of the brief but bloody struggle. San Antonio
is incorporated and Bexar County is created.
The frontier town of Austin is chosen as the
capital of Texas.
1842 San Antonio is briefly occupied by Mexican
troops and several local men are taken prisoner. Forces
from San Antonio and Gonzales engage the invading army
at the Battle of Salado.
1846 Texas formally joins the United States on
February 19. The U.S. Government occupies the Alamo,
using it as a quartermaster and commissary depot, under
a lease from the Catholic Church. The buildings are
repaired and renovated, the now-familiar facade added
to the church in 1850, along with a new roof.