A Brief History
On March 6, 1836, the most celebrated defeat in American history ended in a massacre!
Digging deeper, we remember the Alamo as an epic battle fought by American heroes like John Wayne (as Davy Crocket) depicted in the 1960 movie The Alamo. (Another major motion picture by the same name was made in 2004.)
Texans especially revere the men martyred at the San Antonio landmark, Davy Crocket, Jim Bowie, William Travis and others. The cracked part of the history is why the battle was fought.
Texas at that time was part of Mexico, and Mexican authorities welcomed American settlers to become Mexican citizens, but objected to the Americans bringing and keeping slaves, as Mexico had outlawed slavery in 1829. This aspect of the war for the independence of Texas is seldom acknowledged by popular media and is glossed over in the idol worship of the Alamo’s doomed defenders.
In any case, the approximately 189 defenders of the Alamo fought to the death against about 1800 Mexican troops led by Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. After around 600 Mexicans had been killed over the 2 weeks of the battle, the mission was overrun and all the defenders were killed. Historians, amateur and professional, disagree over what happened at the end. Every defender died fighting was the original romanticized account of the battle, and later accounts claimed several survivors were taken prisoner by the Mexicans and promptly executed. Many sources can be researched to draw your own conclusions.
Texans got their revenge and their independence, creating the Republic of Texas, which of course was soon absorbed by the United States. Interesting Texas trivia includes the “6 Flags Over Texas” saying due to Texas having been under the flags of Spain, France, Mexico, The Republic of Texas, The Confederate States of America, and the United States.
A cracked aspect of the Alamo is the movie set from the 1960 film getting even more tourists than the real thing! The real Alamo is much larger and did not lend itself toward making a movie there. Other movies and television shows (even cartoons) have referred to the Alamo, as well as numerous books, fiction and non-fiction.
Santa Anna, known as “The Napoleon of the West” was a collector of Napoleonic memorabilia. With all the typical Latin American coup and counter coup politics, Santa Anna had to leave Mexico and for a while lived in New York City. Another cracked fact is that we have him to thank for chewing gum! When he imported the first ever chicle (the rubbery stuff gum is made of) to New York to be used instead of rubber for tires, Thomas Adams used the chicle that turned out to be unsuitable for tires for a new product, Chiclets!
Thus, we can “remember the Alamo” every time we chew our Chiclets!
Question for students (and subscribers): What do you remember about the Alamo? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please watch…
Hancock, John Lee. The Alamo. Buena Vista Home Entertainment, 2004.
Wayne, John. The Alamo. MGM (Video & DVD), 2000.