Yesterday while in San Antonio, we visited The Alamo. We had been there before, but perhaps 20 years ago. I am not big on learning Texas history, just not my thing. But, when I can learn something about US history, or world history through studying Texas history, that works! So, item 1, in paraphrase fashion….
The Alamo. Right smack dab in the middle of San Antonio. So important as holding this location was key, thus such a fierce and important battle.
The American Revolutionary war was a catalyst that a few years later motivated the French to revolt against their King, Louis the XVI I believe. Then in the early 1800, Napoleon invades Spain. This weakens the Spanish Government and opens the door for Mexico to fight for their independence. This upsets the Texans (who are part of Spain/Mexico) at the time to fight for their independence from Mexico. Mexico and Texas fighting for their independence motivates many other American colonies to fight for the independence. I don’t remember the number, but dozens. Quite fascinating.
Mission San Jose. A very large compound surrounded by homes and a large granary within the walls for security.
We also visited Mission San Jose, about 8 – 10 miles south of the Alamo (which was a mission). This is the “home base” of the San Antonio Mission Historic Park, of which there are 4 or 5 missions within 20 miles along the San Antonio River.
Individual homes line the interior walls of the compound as each of the missions. This is San Jose, the most highly restored of all the missions.
In learning the history of this group of missions, the Spanish came and, in a nut shell, the infighting among the small bands of nomadic Native Americans in the area was so fierce and the bands were so hungry that they “happily” decided to move into the compounds proposed by the Spanish, learn their skills and have food and security. This did not keep them from, in private, keeping their traditions alive, but the “melded” with the Spanish.
The details and highly ornate interior of the church belies the remoteness of the surrounding territory at the time.
In looking at maps of the Spanish conquests into what later became the US, there were 3 routes; from Mexico City to San Antonio, from Mexico City to Santa Fe and Taos and from Mexico City along the California Coast. We’ll leave out the California conquest at this point as although I’ve visited some of the missions, I don’t know much about it.
The outside of the church was also quite elaborate in its decoration.
The Conquest into New Mexico was bloody and brutal, unlike that into San Antonio. The Native Americans in the Rio Grande Valley were already stable, non-nomadic civilizations and did not need the Spanish. Thus, the harsh clashes.
I don’t have any pictures with me, but the new Mexico mission churches wee not elaborate. New Mexico mission churches were also established in many cases much earlier in the 16th and 17th centuries where as San Jose near San Antonio was build around 1782.
Interestingly, the churches built my the native populations in the name of Catholicism in San Antonio are much grander than those in New Mexico. More willing labor???
Interestingly, the Spanish never seemed to complete their plans to develop cross trading routes between the 3 populations. It was apparently their intention, but his ultimately was left the the Northern European settlers heading west in their quest for new land and domination.
Such fascinating new information and knowledge of history for me.