Events of the South West

Jalynn Powell

Battle of the Alamo

Dates: February 23, 1836 - March 6, 1863

Location: San Antonio, Texas

Generals/Commanders: William Travis, James Bowie, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna

Outcome: Mexican Victory

Result: Texas decided it wanted to be independent of Mexico

In December 1835, during Texas’ war for independence from Mexico, a group of Texan volunteer soldiers occupied the Alamo, a former Franciscan mission located near the present-day city of San Antonio. On February 23, 1836, a Mexican force numbering in the thousands and led by General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna began a siege of the fort. Though vastly outnumbered, the Alamo’s 200 defenders–commanded by James Bowie and William Travis and including the famed frontiersman Davy Crockett–held out courageously for 13 days before the Mexican invaders finally overpowered them. For Texans, the Battle of the Alamo became an enduring symbol of their heroic resistance to oppression and their struggle for independence, which they won later that year

Battle of San Jacinto

On April 21, 1836, during Texas’ war for independence from Mexico, the Texas militia under Sam Houston (1793-1863) launched a surprise attack against the forces of Mexican General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna (1794-1876) at the Battle of San Jacinto, near present-day Houston, Texas. The Mexicans were thoroughly routed, and hundreds were taken prisoner, including Santa Anna. In exchange for his freedom, Santa Anna signed a treaty recognizing Texas’ independence.

Texas Annexation

In 1835, fighting broke out between the Mexican Army and Anglo-American colonists who were angry with the Mexican government for attempting to limit the practice of slavery and for violating the Mexican constitution. In 1836, they declared Texas an independent state, called the Republic of Texas. After a decisive Texan victory at the Battle of San Jacinto later that year, fighting stopped. The Mexican government, however, never recognized the new state, and for the next decade, the Lone Star Republic had a shaky existence. It was under constant threat of invasion from Mexico, and the government did not have enough money in its treasury to work effectively.

In 1845, the Republic of Texas voluntarily asked to become a part of the United States, and the government of the United States agreed to annex the nation. Mexican leaders had long warned the United States that if it tried to make Texas a state, it would declare war. And, almost immediately after Texas joined the union, the United States and Mexico went to war about where the proper border for the state of Texas should be. The Republic of Texas included the present-day state of Texas as well as portions of New Mexico, Kansas, Colorado, and Wyoming.

Extra Reading

For additional reading on the various subjects.