New Historian

We’ve Been Remembering the Alamo Incorrectly

Alamo Pano

<![CDATA[The Mission San Antonio de Valero: a World Heritage Site in San Antonio, Texas, popularly known as the Alamo, was founded in the eighteenth century, doing double duty as not only a Roman Catholic mission but later as a military compound. Although it’s long been established that the mission was relocated to its current site, it’s original location was unknown – until now. As reported by News 4, San Antonia, city archaeologists recently revealed what they believe to be the first location of the Alamo, a piece of property on the edge of the city’s downtown area currently occupied by a building owned by the Christopher Columbus Italian Society. The original building, the Misión San Antonio de Valero as it was known then, was built there in 1718 but stayed at this location for only about a year. Why the mission was relocated from its original location remains a mystery, there’s evidence suggesting the second location was likely in the area of what is now the La Villita Historic Arts Village, an art community also located in downtown San Antonio, south of the San Antonio River. It was only after a hurricane made landfall in 1724 that the mission was moved to its current location on the north side of the river. Archaeologist Kay Hindes told News 4 that she was able to recover artifacts near the Italian Society that were simply laying on the ground, including beads, pottery, and nails; artifacts that showed signs of erosion but were still visible 300 years later. The items date to the right time period, and the theory they mark the original location of the mission is also supported by written records and the area's topography, at the highest point in the city. The current Alamo compound is known as one of the earliest Spanish missions built in Texas for the purpose of educating Native Americans after they were converted to Christianity. The mission was secularized in 1793 and then abandoned, only to become housing for a military unit who likely gave the Alamo its name. In 1835, in the course of the Texas Revolution, Mexico surrendered the Alamo to the Texan Army. For several months afterwards, the fort was occupied by only a small number of Texan soldiers. On March 6, 1836, everyone at the fort was killed during the Battle of the Alamo and several months later, as the Mexican soldiers retreated out of Texas, they demolished numerous walls within the compound and burned several buildings. The Alamo was used over the following five years to house both Mexican and Texan soldiers but was then abandoned once again. A few years later, in 1849, after Texas became part of the United States, the U.S. army started renting the buildings. However, the Army abandoned the building yet again in 1876 when construction of nearby Fort Sam Houston was completed. The site was then sold to, and remains the property of, the state of Texas. The existing plaque on the site of the Alamo which shows the founding date of 1724 will soon be replaced by one stating the true date the Alamo was founded – 1718. ]]>

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