The Battle of the Alamo was fought between the Republic of Texas and Mexico from February 23, 1836 to March 6, 1836. It took place at a fort in San Antonio, Texas called the Alamo. The Mexicans won the battle, killing all of the Texan soldiers inside the fort.
In the 1700s, the Alamo was built as a home to Spanish missionaries. It was called the Mission San Antonio de Valero. Over time, the mission was turned into a fort for Spanish soldiers who called the fort the "Alamo." In the 1820s, American settlers arrived in San Antonio and began to settle the area.
Leading up to the Battle
In 1821, the country of Mexico won its independence from Spain. At the time, Texas was part of Mexico and Mexico had a government similar to the United States. Many Americans moved to Texas and became Mexican citizens.
In 1832, a powerful Mexican general named Santa Anna took control of the government. The Texans (called "Texians" at the time) didn't like the new ruler. They rebelled and declared their independence on March 2, 1836. Santa Anna gathered an army to march on Texas and take it back.
The Mexican forces were led by General Santa Anna. He led a large force of around 1,800 troops. The Texans were led by the frontiersman James Bowie and Lieutenant Colonel William Travis. There were around 200 Texans defending the Alamo which included the famous folk hero Davy Crockett.
What was the fort like?
The Alamo covered around 3 acres of land which was surrounded with an adobe wall that was between 9 and 12 feet tall. There were buildings inside the fort including a chapel, a barracks for soldiers, a hospital room, a large courtyard, and a horse corral. Cannons were placed along the walls and on top of buildings.
Defend or Retreat?
When the Texans heard that General Santa Anna was coming there was much debate on whether the fort should be abandoned. Sam Houston wanted the fort abandoned and the cannon removed. However, James Bowie decided he would stay and defend the fort. The rest of the soldiers decided to stay as well.
General Santa Anna and his troops arrived on February 23, 1836. They laid siege to the fort for 13 days. On the morning of March 6, the Mexicans launched a major attack. The Texans managed to fend off the first few attacks, but there were too many Mexican soldiers and they managed to scale the walls and get inside the fort. The fighting was fierce, but eventually the Mexicans won. They killed every soldier in the fort.
Although the Texans lost the battle, it galvanized the rest of Texas against Mexico and General Santa Anna. A few months later, Sam Houston led the Texans to victory over Santa Anna at the Battle of San Jacinto. The Texans rallied to the cry of "Remember the Alamo!" during the battle.
Interesting Facts About the Battle of the Alamo
Between 400 and 600 Mexican soldiers were killed in the battle. Estimates on the number of Texans killed vary from 182 to 257.
Not everyone in the fort was killed. Most of the survivors were women, children, servants, and slaves.
The Alamo was used by Confederate forces during the Civil War.
During the 1870s, the Alamo was used as a warehouse.
Today, the Alamo is a popular tourist destination with over 2.5 million people visiting the site each year.