The 5 San Antonio Missions
(Click on any picture to enlarge)
In the early 1700's, Spanish Franciscan monks established five missions near the San Antonio River. Their purpose was to convert the bands of Coahuiltecan Indians that lived in the area to Christianity. The Indians agreed to live in the walled compounds, so that they could be protected from warring tribes, such as the Apaches and Comanches.
The most famous of the missions is Mission San Antonio de Valero, later known as The Alamo (Spanish for "Cottonwood").During the Texas Revolution from Mexico in 1836, General Antonio López de Santa Anna laid siege on the 189 defenders of the Alamo from February 23, 1836 to March 6, 1836. On the morning of March 6, 5,000+ Mexican soldiers attacked the Alamo, killing all of the defenders. The most famous of them were the commander, William Barrett Travis, Davy Crockett, and Jim Bowie.
Listen to the music, Deguello (Slit Throat). This is what Santa Ana's bands played the morning of the attack on March 6, 1836.
It is the last music that the Texicans heard. The sheet music was recently found in Mexico City. Click here.
My Attempt to make it look old
One time, while visiting the Alamo, I asked the curator why there didn't seem to be any bullet holes on the building. She took me outside and showed me some - also some cannon ball dents. On the picture below, the bullet holes are so close together that I wonder whether they are from a firing squad. No one really knows whether all of the Texans went down fighting, or if some surrendered, only to be killed by Santa Anna's forces.
Inside the Alamo
It's forbidden to take pictures inside the Alamo, and I've been there many times before, never taking one. However, since my ancestors fought in the Texas Revolution, I felt I had special priviledges to take some ... until the guard threatened to slit my throat. Here is the one picture I got. It is very solemn inside and visitors are very respectful.
Going south from the Alamo, the next mission is Misión Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción de Acuña, which is considered the best prserved of all the missions, and was established in 1716.
Mission San José
The Misión San José y San Miguel de Aguayo was established in 1720. To me, this is the most impressive of all of the missions. It has a large walled compound, with quarters for the Indians, a grist mill that is still used today, and a Rose Window.
Indian quarters and a cooking oven
Mission San Juan
Misión San Juan Capistrano was established in 1716 as Misión San Jose de los Nazoris in East Texas. The mission was renamed and moved in 1731 to San Antonio.
Misión San Francisco de la Espada was established in 1690, and moved to it's present location in 1731.
At the mission, we really liked a plant with orange and yellow flowers. We were told to ask Brother Jerome what it was. He said it was a Pride of Barbedos plant. We bought a small one on the way home and have planted it.
A 15 mile aqueduct was built to irrigate the crops near the mission and is still used by the local residents today.