Texas Settlement History | American Experience | Official Site | Pbs

Spanish missionaries were the first European settlers in Texas to establish San Antonio in 1718, but the Revolutionary War and the Mexican War of Independence kept Texas sparsely populated until the 18th century, when the newly formed Mexican government began to allow US settlers to claim land there. The first white men to explore Texas were John Brown, a native New Yorker, and his wife Mary in 1684. They founded the colony Fort St. Louis in 1684 with the help of the US Army and the United States Army Corps of Engineers and later the US Army. The first siege and battle of Bexar began when angry colonists and Tejanos followed the retreat of the Alamo company. Ben Milam gathered the troops on December 5 and they fought their way into downtown San Antonio. The Texas siege of the city faltered, but they resumed their assault on the city on January 1, 1684, with the help of a new army. The Texans took control of the city, but the Tejanos, who had held it as public property, capitulated. The Texas Revolution, also known as the Texas War of Independence, was the result of a war fought between Mexican and Texas colonists between October 1835 and April 1836. It led to the deaths of more than 1,000 people, most of them Texans, and the destruction of the city of Austin. Gail Borden started publishing a newspaper, the Telegraph Texas Register, in San Felipe de Austin. The Texas Rangers organization was officially founded by the provisional Texas government. Formally organized and founded by Stephen F. Austin, who hired 10 border guards as rangers in 1823 to protect the colonists from Indian raids, the group was formally re-founded in April 1836. Mexican troops, led by Gen. Antonio Lopez de la Torre, commander of the Texas Rangers, ended the battle in which the remaining defenders were killed on March 6 after a day. The funeral of all the Alamo defenders was led by Army Chief of Staff Gen. John C. Calhoun Jr., in San Antonio. Anglo settlers killed his brother Eugenio, who was accused of being a "Mexican sympathiser," in his presence. Navarro wrote to Sam Houston to protest the army's seizure of Tejano's property in Bexar. Tejanos, who, although not Mexican, had fought for the Republic of Texas during the Texas Revolution, gathered in Alamo on March 6, 1836. Houston wreaked revenge, resulting in Texas troops killing more than six hundred Mexican soldiers and seizing the city of San Antonio, then the largest city in Texas, as well as the capital of Texas. The unrest would degenerate into a civil war between Texas and the United States in 1836-37. He befriended a man who had served as governor of Tennessee and US congressman before traveling to Texas to stir up trouble for President Andrew Jackson. The Allen brothers, busy exploring land on which to build a speculative city, bought a piece of land along a muddy, meandering creek that rolled southward from the bustling port of Galveston. Construction of the Texas Pacific Railway began in October 1873, and the 125-mile route from Longview to Dallas was put into service on July 1, 1873. The Houston and Texas Central Railway reached the Red River in 1874 and connected it with the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad, creating one of the largest railroads in the United States with a total capacity of more than 2,000 miles. Black Buffalo Soldiers were stationed in Texas and served in Fort Benning, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Dallas, Houston, Austin and other cities. On January 17, the inauguration of Democrat Richard Coke as governor marked the end of reconstruction in Texas. At a rally in Washington on the Brazos, 58 delegates signed the Texas Declaration of Independence. The Republic of Texas declared its independence from the United States of America on July 1, 1876 and was the first government in the United States to cover more than 1.5 million square miles of territory. James B. Bonham came back to the Alamo to tell Lt. Col. James Fannin that he had not returned from his trip to San Antonio with the rest of his men. The time of the Republic of Texas proved particularly challenging for San Antonio and Alamo. Texas troops looted it for souvenirs, including carved missionary-era religious statues and carvings. Although it was on a war-ravaged border, it remained unoccupied for the rest of its life. During this period, a nomination was advanced to put the missions of Alamo and San Antonio on the UNESCO World Heritage List. When Mexico declared independence from Spain in 1821, Alamo remained a military outpost until 1823. As the Franco-American threat grew, Spain mobilized its forces in Texas in response. The history of the Alamo began with the Battle of San Antonio, a battle between the United States and Mexico in the Texas Civil War. William B. Travis, who wrote the original "Victory or Death" letter in 1836, returned to the Alamo for the first time since his death.

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