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Alamo, the

the Alamo (ăl´əmō´) [Span.,=cottonwood], building in San Antonio, Tex., "the cradle of Texas liberty." Built as a chapel after 1744, it is all that remains of the mission of San Antonio de Valero, which was founded in 1718 by Franciscans and later converted into a fortress. In the Texas Revolution, San Antonio was taken by Texas revolutionaries in Dec., 1835, and was lightly garrisoned. When Mexican General Santa Anna approached with an army of several thousand in Feb., 1836, only some 150 men held the Alamo, and confusion, indifference, and bickering among insurgents throughout Texas prevented help from joining them, except for 32 volunteers from Gonzales who slipped through the Mexican siege lines. Defying surrender demands, the Texans in the fort determined to fight. The siege, which began Feb. 24, ended with hand-to-hand fighting within the walls on Mar. 6. William B. Travis, James Bowie, Davy Crockett, and some 180 other defenders died, but the heroic resistance roused fighting anger among Texans, who six weeks later defeated the Mexicans at San Jacinto, crying, "Remember the Alamo!" The chapel-fort became a state preserve in 1883. Its surroundings were added in 1905, and the complex, restored in 1936–39, is now a major tourist attraction.

See A. G. Adair and M. H. Crockett, ed., Heroes of the Alamo (2d ed. 1957); Lon Tinkle, 13 Days to Glory (1958); W. Lord, A Time to Stand (1961); W. C. Davis, Three Roads to the Alamo (1998); R. Roberts and J. S. Olson, A Line in the Sand (2000).

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Alamo, Battle of the

Alamo, Battle of the (1836).In fall 1835, a political revolution broke out among the North American settlers in Mexican Texas. After the colonists ousted the Mexican garrison from San Antonio in December, the Mexican president, Gen. Antonio López de Santa Anna, led an army northward to avenge the loss. Texan commander Sam Houston recognized that San Antonio had no strategic value and ordered Texans there to evacuate to the east.

Approximately 150 men decided to stay and fortify the abandoned mission known as the Alamo. By 24 February 1836, Mexican troops initiated a siege. Texas Col. William Barrett Travis sent out messages pleading for reinforcements, but only thirty‐two men responded.

On 6 March, Santa Anna launched an overwhelming assault with about 1,800 troops. The defenders fought desperately, killing or wounding some 600 Mexicans, but by sunup, the approximately 180 defenders, including Travis and David Crockett, were dead.

Word quickly reached the American settlements of Texas, and the slogan “Remember the Alamo!” helped motivate the remainder of the Texas army. On 21 April Sam Houston led his men to victory over Santa Anna at the Battle of San Jacinto—thus guaranteeing Texas independence.
[See also Texas War of Independence.]

Bibliography

Walter Lord , A Time to Stand, 1961.
Jeff Long , Duel of Eagles: The Mexican and U.S. Fight for the Alamo, 1990.

James M. McCaffrey

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Alamo

Alamo the Franciscan mission which was the site of a desperate and ultimately unsuccessful defence against Santa Ana in the Texan War of Independence; on 6 March 1836, it was captured by Mexican troops, and all the defenders were killed.

In the battle of San Jacinto, 21 April 1836, where the Texans defeated the Mexican forces and captured Santa Ana, troops used the battle-cry (attributed to Colonel Sidney Sherman) ‘Remember the Alamo!’

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Alamo, the

Alamo, the Mission in San Antonio, Texas, scene of a battle between Mexico and the Republic of Texas (1836). About 180 Texans, led by William Travis, Davy Crockett, and Jim Bowie, were overwhelmed by Mexican forces numbering in the thousands following a siege that lasted 11 days.

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