San Antonio is the seventh-most populous city in the United States, and the second-most populous city in both Texas and the South of the United States, with 1,547,253 residents in 2019. Founded as a Spanish mission and colonial outpost in 1718, the city became the first chartered civil settlement in Texas today in 1731. The area still belonged to the Spanish Empire , and later to the Mexican Republic. It is the oldest municipality in the state, having celebrated its 300th anniversary on May 1, 2018.
The Spanish explorers first visited the site, then the Payaya Indian camp, in 1691. San Antonio was founded on May 1, 1718, when a Spanish expedition from Mexico established the San Antonio de Valero Mission. The mission, later called the Alamo (Spanish: “Cottonwood”), was one of the five in the area and was named after St. Anthony of Padua. A presidio (military garrison) known as San Antonio de Béxar was established nearby on 5 May. The site, on the west bank of the river, was a stop on the path through the Texas wilderness between the missions on the Rio Grande and the missions in East Texas.
In 1731, settlers from the Canary Islands set up the town of San Fernando de Béxar near the presidio, where a civilian community was planned when the presidio and mission were established. In its early years, the settlement suffered raids by the Apache and Comanche tribes. The mission was secularized in 1793 and turned into a military post. San Fernando de Béxar served as provincial capital from 1773 to 1824, but his political authority declined in the years to come. By 1837, when it became the county seat of the Republic of Texas, it was renamed San Antonio.
At the time of Mexican independence in 1821, San Antonio, along with Goliad and Nacogdoches, was one of the three Spanish communities established in Texas. In the summer of that year, Stephen Austin arrived in the city — then the seat of the Spanish government in Texas — to obtain his father’s permission to admit 300 U.S. families into the territory. Texan forces occupied the Alamo in December 1835, at the beginning of the Texas Revolution. They remained there until March 1836, when Mexican soldiers were massacred under General Antonio López de Santa Anna after a 13-day siege. In April, the presidio ceased to exist with the independence of Texas.
San Antonio was still the largest city in Texas in 1836, with some 2,500 inhabitants. It grew rapidly after independence, led by a large number of German immigrants. During the last decades of the 19th century, San Antonio, as the starting point for the Chisholm Trail, became a major cattle center where herds were assembled for overland railings in Kansas.
The town quickly became the commercial hub of the Southwest. The arrival of the first railroad in 1877 brought migrants from the American South, and Mexican immigrants settled there after the beginning of the Mexican Revolution in 1910. During the First and Second World Wars, San Antonio was a major military center, a factor that continued to dominate its economy in decades to come. A world exhibition, known as HemisFair, was held there in 1968 to commemorate the city’s 250th anniversary and celebrate its cultural ties with Latin America. In 1981 Henry Cisneros was elected the first Hispanic mayor of the city since the mid-19th century; Cisneros served until 1989. In 2001 Ed Garza was elected the city’s second modern-era Hispanic mayor and was in office until 2005.
This amazing historic city boasts these must-see important historical sites for you to check out:
- Fairmount Hotel
- Hot Wells Resort
- Menger Hotel
- Mission Concepción (Mission Nuestra Senora de la Purisima Concepcion de Acuna)
- Mission Espada (Mission San Francisco de la Espada)
- Mission San Antonio de Valero (The Alamo)
- Mission San José (Mission San Jose y San Miguel de Aguayo)
- Mission San Juan (Mission San Juan Capistrano)
- Roosevelt Park
And after your visit make sure to stop by the best CBD Store in Helotes, Mary Jane’s CBD Dispensary, on Bandera Road!