TCU Daily Skiff Wednesday, April 14, 2004
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History of the Alamo: From its beginning to its devasting defeat
The 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 time.


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 the post.

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 devastated.

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 Texas.

1823 — Agustín Iturbide abdicates as Emperor of Mexico. Mexican leaders soon begin work on a national constitution.

1824 — Under the new constitutional government, Coahuila y Texas becomes a single state, with the capital in Saltillo.

1825 — Texas becomes a department under state government, with a political chief residing in San Antonio.

1830 — 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.

October — December

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 Goliad.

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.

1840 — 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.

 
 
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