San Antonio History

San Antonio is home to deep traditions and a mixture of cultures from Native Americans, Old Mexico, the Republic of Texas, Germans, the Wild West, African Americans, and the Deep South. The city of San Antonio was named after the Portuguese St. Anthony in 1691 from a Spanish expedition. Early Spanish settlement of San Antonio began with the San Antonio de Valero Mission also known as the Alamo. The Alamo is one of five Spanish missions founded in the early 1700s that still stand today and are known as the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. The main visitor center is at Mission San Jose.

San Antonio grew to become the largest Spanish settlement in Texas, and the capital of the Spanish, later Mexican, province of Tejas at the Spanish Governor’s Palace. The Spanish Governor’s Palace is nearby the San Fernando Cathedral. The San Fernando Cathedral was founded by Canary Islanders in 1731. With political unrest, and Antonio López de Santa Anna unilaterally rescinding the Mexican constitution of 1824, the Texian Army fought in a series of battles with Mexican soldiers. The Battle of the Alamo is the most famous of these battles. The battle took place from February 23 to March 6, 1836. The outnumbered Texian force was defeated, with all of the Alamo defenders killed. These men were seen as “martyrs” for the cause of Texas freedom and “Remember the Alamo” became a rallying cry in the Texian Army’s eventual success at defeating Santa Anna’s army. In 1845, the United States finally decided to annex Texas and include it as a state in the Union. San Antonio remained a frontier city, but its mixture of cultures also gave it a reputation as being beautiful and exotic. (wikipedia, San Antonio History)

In the mid to late 18th century, a village was developed in the downtown area known as “La Villita” (the little village). It was one of San Antonio ‘s original settlements. Today La Villita is known as a National Historic District and offers many shops and restaurants. Next to central downtown, is a neighborhood known as the King William Historic District. In this area beautiful homes reflect the German heritage that settled here in the late 1800s. The Steves Homestead is a mansion open to the public in the King William area.

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