Unusual Tourist Sites: The Alamo in San Antonio, Texas Part 1

About the unusual tourist site the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas, history and information.

San Antonio, Texas

The Alamo ... One thing is sure when you drive into downtown San Antonio, Tex. You won't miss the Alamo. Highway signs stretched across every road, bigger than those on a super-highway, guide your path.

Strangely, when at last you come upon it, there is a marked impression of its being very small. And small it is indeed, compared to almost everything else in Texas. Yet this collection of rock and stone and clay, with its fine collection of memorabilia, stands ever so tall in the eyes and hearts of its curators.

Outside the huge and heavy front doors, with their antique hinges and large handles, the City of San Antonio bustles as though there were no tomorrow. But once behind the confines of the outer door of the mission, it seems as if you have gone through the looking glass into another day.

The building and grounds abound in neatness and history. Here is a monument to the great men who fought and died for the Republic of Texas, a nation whose life span was less than 10 years. Perhaps it has been embellished even more because of a pair of legendary characters who were among the little band of troopers that held off thousands of Mexican soldiers. It was at the Alamo that Davy Crockett of Tennessee and Jim Bowie of Georgia stood their last ground, fighting to the very end.

The Alamo's story began when Mexico invited Americans to found colonies in Texas back in the 1820s, the purpose being to help fill sparsely populated, Indian-controlled areas. The newcomers got land free and in return became Mexican citizens. Having lived in the U.S., naturally they objected to trial without jury and not having a voice in government.

Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna overthrew the constitutional Government, made himself dictator, and marched north in order to bring Texas to its knees. Crossing the Rio Grande, he attacked the Alamo, the stonewalled mission at San Antonio. A garrison of only 145 men defended this mission.

Col. William Barret Travis, a 27-year-old lawyer, served as commandant of the embattled troops. His declaration: "I shall never surrender nor retreat. I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible and die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his honor and that of his country. Victory or Death."

The battle began on February 23, 1836. Creeping through enemy lines, a small group of reinforcements arrived on the 8th day of the siege, bringing the total strength up to 187 men. They faced attack by from 6 to 7 thousand.

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