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Alamo History Chronology

  [ 1716 - 1813 ] [1817 - 1835 ] [ 1836 - 1885 ] [ 1886 - 1912 ] [ 1912 - 2005 ]

Alamo church, ca. 1960. Sue Flanagan, photographer.The Alamo is widely recognized as a symbol of heroic courage in the struggle against oppression. It began as a simple Spanish mission, run by Franciscan missionaries, strategically placed on the El Camino Real - the King's Highway.

What follows is an illustrated chronology of the Alamo that may help readers understand its historical importance and how it became the Alamo of today.

The Viceroy of New Spain, the Marqués de Valero, authorizes the relocation of the Mission of San Francisco Solano from the Rio Grande to the San Antonio River.
Mission San Antonio de Valero 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. Formal ceremonies are performed by the Governor of Coahuila and Texas, Martín de Alarcón. The area is frequented by numerous native bands and tribes whose members are recruited as Christian converts and settlers by the missionaries.
The mission is moved to the east side of the River.
A second mission, San José y San Miguel de Aguayo, is established on the river, south of San Antonio de Valero.
Following a severe storm, San Antonio de Valero is moved a short distance north, to its final site.
Three missions in East Texas, Nuestra Señora Purísima Concepción de Acuña, San Juan Capistrano, and San Francisco de la Espada, are moved to the San Antonio River. A group of settlers from the Canary Islands arrives to form a new civil settlement, San Fernando de Béxar.
A cornerstone is laid for a church at San Antonio de Valero. Church construction continues for several years.
Detail, Alamo church. Photograph courtesy of Carolyn Peterson.

The keystone for the church at San Antonio de Valero.
Detail, Alamo church. Photograph by W. Eugene George.

By the order of the King of Spain, the San Antonio de Valero Mission is secularized, its ranch properties distributed among the civilian population.
Irish-American trader Philip Nolan, leader of several earlier expeditions to Spanish territory, enters northeast Texas to hunt wild horses. Spanish troops are sent from Nacogdoches to capture Nolan and his followers, and Nolan is killed in the ensuing battle. His surviving followers are marched to San Antonio, where they are held for three months before being transported to Chihuahua and imprisonment.
The San Antonio de Valero Mission is used as a military post. The arrival of the Second Company of San Carlos de Parras from the vicinity of the town of El Alamo in Coahuila is the possible source for the popular name of the former mission. A church parish is established and the remains of the church are used for services for soldiers at the post.
Part of mission is used as a military hospital.
Zebulon Pike, arrested by Spanish authorities near the headwaters of the Rio Grande, is cordially received in San Antonio by the governor. Pike later reports that the town is laid out on a "grand plan," and notes the "station of the troops"-the Alamo-east of the river.
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.
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, the rebel army takes San Antonio. Spanish governor Manuel Salcedo and other officials are executed. The victorious Gutiérrez declares Texas' independence and drafts a constitution, although he is soon forced from power and removed from the province. Again, the revolutionary triumph is fleeting; a Spanish royalist army under General José Joaquín de Arredondo crushes the republican army at the Medina River, and recaptures San Antonio. The years of fighting leave San Antonio economically devastated.
Next -- (1817 - 1835)


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