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Beautiful San Antonio – the second largest city in Texas – was founded by Native Americans and Spanish explorers in 1691. In the 1700s, the Spanish built a fort, or presidio, on the river, establishing this space as a strategic holding that was worth fighting for. Over this century, a number of missions were also built in San Antonio, including some you can visit today. One of those buildings is the Alamo, the 300-year-old Mission San Antonio de Valero, the site of one of the most famous battles in Texas history.
Long before trouble brewed at the Alamo, Davy Crockett’s legend was building across the United States. This Tennessee native ran away from home at an early age and became adept at hunting, trapping, and living in the back woods. These skills served him well later when he joined the Tennessee Militia, a group of volunteer mounted riflemen. As part of the militia, Davy took part in the 1813 Creek War in Alabama, serving under Andrew Jackson. Davy – who preferred to go by the name David – rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and served until 1818.
At the age of 35, Davy Crockett was elected to a local position and five years later he joined the U.S. House of Representatives. After serving two terms, he opposed President Andrew Jackson’s Indian Removal Act and subsequently lost his seat in 1831—but he regained it in 1833. In 1834 he wrote his memoir, A Narrative of the Life of David Crockett. Written by Himself, and when he lost his seat again in 1835, he resolved to go to Texas.
In Texas, Davy signed on as a volunteer of Sam Houston’s army and joined a group of soldiers headed south to relieve besieged Alamo. Among other notable personalities, Davy’s band was joined by James Bowie.
The Texans at the Alamo faced an near impossible task. A Mexican army led by General Santa Anna had the place surrounded by more than 4,000 soldiers. Trapped in the Alamo was a band of about 200 Texans. And yet this tiny force held off the Mexican Army for nearly two weeks. Davy Crockett died there, as did all the volunteers except for one man, one woman, and one child.
What makes the story of the Alamo so lasting and dramatic is the bravery and determination that was displayed by the Texas volunteers. The odds against them were staggering, and yet they fought tooth and nail, holding out day after day. By some accounts, the Mexican force was cut down by a third—a pretty impressive feat for just 200 people. It’s this bravery that sparked the rallying cry “Remember the Alamo!” which inspired soldiers at the Battle of San Jacinto, held a month and a half later. At this battle, the Texas army was victorious and General Santa Anna was captured. He had to lead his troops out of Texas, handing the territory over to the newly-born Republic of Texas.
Today, you can tour the Alamo and get a first-hand look at this famous building and the site of this inspirational battle.