The Alamo is remembered as a military fort and the site of a great battle, but it was originally a mission for the Catholic Church.
- The Alamo Mission in San Antonio was established in 1744 as a church mission and also as a place for missionaries throughout the Southwest to stop for provisions and rest.
- It sat on three acres and was mostly self-sufficient. More than 300 American Indians who had converted to Catholicism lived in the mission. They had a textile shop and a farm, producing 2,000 bushels of corn and 2,000 head of cows annually.
- The mission included some 30 buildings and offered American Indians an education and opportunities to learn skills and trades.
- In 1793, after Mexico gained its independence from Spain, the mission was secularized,which means it couldn’t be used for religious purposes. The Mexican government was suspicious of the Catholic Church, believing the Spanish government would use the church to continue to control Mexico.
- The mission was then abandoned. The Mexican army used it as a military fort until the Texan army took it for their own purposes.
- In 1803, a fierce battle took place between the Mexican and Texan armies. Texas belonged to Mexico at that time, but the people of Texas wanted to form their own country. The Texan army was holed up in the Alamo and were eventually defeated. Almost all of them were killed.
- In 1849, after Texas was annexed to the United States, the Mexican government sold the Alamo to the U.S. government. At first it was used as a quartermaster’s depot and then a grocery store.
- The buildings sat empty and were falling into disrepair when Clara Driscoll and Adina Emilia De Zavala, Daughters of the Republic of Texas, began lobbying the state legislature to restore it.
- In 1905, the women succeeded in their mission and the Alamo was renovated.
- Convert: to join a group, religion, or practice
- Secularized: to remove religion
- Disrepair: ruin
Questions and Answers
Question: Is the Alamo open today?
Answer: Yes, the Alamo is now a museum and can be visited in San Antonio, Texas.
See photos and read about the Alamo.