The Alamo (a former Franciscan mission first constructed in 1718) is located in San Antonio, Texas and became famous during the Battle of the Alamo (February 23rd to March 6th, 1836). This battle was a significant but doomed event in the Texas Revolution (October 2nd, 1835 to the final battle on April 21st, 1836) led by Texan colonists (Texians and Tejanos – the latter were of Spanish or Mexican descent) who fought the Mexican Government. The Alamo was seen as a key defensive point in Texas and was to be held at all cost.
Mexican army troops numbering anywhere between 1,800 to 6,000 men (reports vary widely!) under the command of General Antonio López de Santa Anna (also a former President of Mexico) laid siege to the mission. The Texan colonists within the Alamo commanded by William B. Travis, numbered only approximately 200 men but they held out for 13 days .
The defenders kept the Mexicans at bay with cannon and rifle fire, beating back numerous attacks. On the last day of the siege though, Mexican soldiers managed to scale the walls before dawn and turn the cannons on the defenders.
Between 600 and 1,600 Mexican soldiers died in the battle but very few of the Texan defenders survived it. Those that did not die in the battle were mostly executed following its conclusion. Santa Anna was ruthless and wanted to set an example to stop the revolution! An order to take no prisoners was given but a few people including the wife and child of one of the defenders were eventually spared and set free. Santa Anna wanted them to pass on the message that victory was impossible and other Texans would suffer the same fate as the defenders of the Alamo.
The Texas Revolution began following long running political and cultural differences between the colonists and Mexico that were never going to be resolved peacefully. Seeking revenge for the Alamo the Texans dealt the final blow of defeat upon Mexico during the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21st, 1836. It took all of 18 minutes for the Texans to win the battle, inflicting heavy losses upon the Mexicans in the process.
Although there is not that much to see of the original Alamo fortifications (the Mexican army destroyed much of it when departing Texas), the displays and the remaining buildings provide the scene for your imagination to take over. The epic diorama within the complex gives you some idea of what the battle must have been like and the sense of such overwhelming odds gives you a better appreciation for what those few men defending the walls must have been experiencing during the siege.
Ultimately the revolution resulted in Mexico ceding the territory and the creation of the Republic of Texas which of course eventually became the State of Texas in 1845 and part of the USA (this in turn led to the Mexican-American War from 1846 to 1848 which ended in victory for the USA). This old mission played a significant part in that revolution and is a symbol for battling against the odds, hence the cry of “Remember the Alamo!“.