The Alamo has long been a symbol of Texas independence, but the fortress is so much more than that. It is located at 300 Alamo Plaza, San Antonio, TX 78205. It is also a shrine to George Washington and the unending saga of American history’s fight for freedom, both from within and without. Here’s everything you need to know about this weird little shrine in San Antonio.
What happened at the Alamo?
The Alamo was a small fortress in Texas. It was founded by the Spanish early in the 18th century but was taken over by the French in 1749. In 1835, Texas declared its independence and became a republic, but it was annexed by the United States in 1845. In 1836-37, the Texas revolution and the Mexican War of Independence (which later became the Texas Revolution) were fought between Mexico and Texas and resulted in the declaration of independence of Texas. In March 1836, a group of Mexican soldiers, under the command of Colonel Antonio López de Santa Anna, took control of the Alamo. The mission, which was under the control of a group of Texan volunteers, had already been deserted by its Mexican caretakers and was in a state of disrepair.
How did the Alamo become a shrine?
In the years after the battle, many people visited the Alamo. Some of these visitors were overwhelmed by the site, which reminded them of their own battles for independence. Others set out to find long-lost relatives who had been buried in the mission’s cemetery. Many people simply came to pay their respects to the men who died there. Over the years, people made pilgrimages to the Alamo, carrying votive candles and leaving tokens, such as flowers and food, at the site. These offerings, along with the thousands of candles, eventually filled the Alamo courtyard with a strange mist of wax. In the late 19th century, two men named Sam Houston and Thomas Moorehead began to promote the idea that the Alamo should become a shrine. In their view, the Alamo should not just be a place to mourn the dead: It should also be a place of reverence for all those who had fought for American independence, both at home and abroad. Soon, Americans from all walks of life were making pilgrimages to the Alamo.
Why do people protest at the Alamo?
In the early 20th century, many new Americans began to visit the shrine. They were looking for something to connect them to their new country and its history. One of the most powerful ways to do that was to visit the Alamo. Many of these pilgrims could not believe the stories their fellow countrymen kept telling them about the defenders of the Alamo. The defenders were said to have been cowards who had run when they could have held out. The pilgrims wanted to know why these stories were told and believed so fervently. The pilgrims also began to notice that each year, more and more people were gathering at the Alamo to protest. These protesters were mostly Mexicans who were angry that the shrine was becoming a symbol of Texas independence. The pilgrims soon joined in, believing that the Alamo should be a place of peace and not a platform for hatred.
The modern-day defenders of the Alamo
The San Antonio shrine is now a battleground. Each year, Mexicans come to the Alamo to protest against the American presence there. At the same time, a small but growing number of American patriots have come to the shrine to honor the Alamo’s defenders. Though the two parties are separated by an ocean, they have found a common cause at the Alamo. This is in part because both groups consider themselves heirs to the legacy of the defenders of the Alamo. The two groups also find plenty of common cause in their shared desire to protect American history.
The Alamo is a strange and fascinating little place. It is not just a shrine, but a symbol of Texas independence, a memorial for all those who have fought for freedom, and a place for people from all walks of life to come together. This is a place that has stood for freedom and will continue to do so long after the last Mexican has been driven from Texas soil. For more reading about the Alamo, check out these articles from us here at Curious City: