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What is the Alamo?

Mission San Antonio Valero, better known as the Alamo, is a place of historical interest located in the city of San Antonio, Texas, United States. The first Spanish mission along the San Antonio River, it was established by Fray Antonio de San Buenaventura y Olivar and built by the missionaries in conjunction with the native Xarames.

The Mission was founded in 1718, but settled in two nearby but inadequate locations before settling in its present location in 1724. The Alamo site has a total area of 1.7 hectares.

What is the importance of the Alamo?

The Alamo is part of the San Antonio Missions, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its importance lies in the role it played in the founding of the city of San Antonio, as well as in the role it played throughout the history of the creation and consolidation of the state of Texas.

Along with the other missions of San Antonio, it also represents an artistic and cultural landmark. These structures combine the technologies, arts, iconography and aesthetic principles of the recently arrived European culture (particularly Spanish) with those of the native populations, turning the missions into a symbol of integration and a historical document of the uses and customs of the time. Archaeological findings demonstrate a syncretization of the customs of settlers and natives, for example, in their eating habits.

Today, in addition to being a World Heritage Site since 2015, the Alamo has been part of the National Register of Historic Places since 1966, a National Historic Landmark, a Historic District Contributing Property since 1977 and a Texas State Antiquities Landmark since 1983.

What historical events took place at the Alamo?

Once the Mission of San Antonio de Valero was established in its present location (in 1724), the construction of a monastery began in 1740. A building with a vaulted roof was planned but was not completed during the time of the mission, although the arches that were to support it were built.

The objective of the missions was to establish religious customs and beliefs in a specific place and then to secularize them. In 1793 the Spanish crown ordered the secularization of the Mission of San Antonio Valero, which became an autonomous town called Pueblo de Valero.

In 1803 the location was occupied by the Second Flying Company of San Carlos de Parras, a lancer corps of the army of the Spanish viceroyalty also known as the Alamo de Parras Company, with the objective of defending Spanish rule against the threat of other explorers in the area. The company restructured the mission to fulfill military functions and established a hospital there. It is believed that the name of The Alamo dates back to this period of occupation of the structure.

After 10 years of occupation, in 1813 the Flying Company turned over control of the buildings to the Gutierrez-Magee Expedition during the early years of the Mexican War of Independence.

In 1835 the mission structures came under the control of Texas soldiers during the Texas Revolution against the Mexican government that ended with the establishment of the Republic of Texas in 1836. Many of the Alamo’s walls were collapsed and burned during the retreat. Texan and Mexican soldiers continued to use the Alamo as a post for the next 5 years, until it was abandoned.

In 1845 Texas was annexed to the United States of America and in 1849 the U.S. Army leased the space for use as a quartermaster depot until 1876, when it was again abandoned to occupy the structure of the newly built Fort Sam Houston, in the city of San Antonio.

The Alamo was left adrift until 1891 when the Daughters of the Republic of Texas Association took control of the Alamo for its recovery and management.

What is the Daughters of the Republic of Texas Association?

The Daughters of the Republic of Texas (DRT) is a lineal parentage association reserved for direct descendants of ancestors who served the Republic of Texas prior to February 19, 1846, when the republic came under the control of the United States. The association was founded by cousins Betty Eva Ballinger and Hally Ballinger Bryan Perry with the goal of perpetuating the memory of the founding families and soldiers of the Republic of Texas.

Among the main achievements of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas is the recovery of the Alamo, which they managed until 2015, when it became the jurisdiction of the Texas General Land Office. The DRT also operated the French Legation, one of the oldest structures in Austin Texas, which was the diplomatic headquarters of the French government in Texas. The French Legation belongs to the State of Texas, but was under the administration of the Sisters from 1940 until 2017. They continue to operate a museum dedicated to Texas history in Austin, Texas.

What does the Alamo represent today?

Today the Alamo serves as a museum and place of historical memory where exhibits, guided tours, events, and historical and participatory reenactments are held to learn about the history of the founding of Texas.

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