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The city is also served by five U. During the second half of the nineteenth century, San Antonio, as the largest city in Texas, supported a diverse native and immigrant population and further perpetuated its reputation as a crossro of cultures. The city prospered as a center of agricultural and ranching activities, and its growing industry, advances in transportation, establishment of educational institutions, and strong connection to the military carried it firmly into the twentieth century and the post- World War II era.
In recent decades San Antonio has become a top tourist destination. Spanish expeditions explored the area in and They also encountered an Indian area of settlement which the Spaniards interpreted to have the name Yanaguana. With stretches most likely developed from existing Indian trails, the road developed into a main artery for commerce and immigration.
The fledgling community consisted of both military and civilian citizens—soldiers, Mexican frontiersmen, resident families, as well as the mission Indians. The land containing San Pedro Springs, considered as a vital water source for settlement, was declared by the Spanish crown in to be public land—a deation which makes San Pedro Springs Park one of the oldest municipal parks in the United States. From San Pedro Spring they expanded an acequia that had been started by the military settlers to serve a large area of farmland between the river and San Pedro Creek to the south.
Construction for the church, which was later deated San Fernando Cathedral inwas completed by the late s. Over time, the Canary Islanders, whose arrival initially disrupted the existing presidio community, forged economic and family bonds within the greater community. Its circumstances were described as "miserable" by visitors.
Afro-Mexicans—people of African descent who were part of the Hispanic population of New Spain, included both free Blacks and a small of slaves. In population s decreased to 1, 1, military and civilian residents and mission residents. The San Antonio population also included fifteen Black families. Secularization of the missions began in with San Antonio de Valero Mission later known as the Alamowhich in the early s became a military barracks.
In the early nineteenth century San Antonio found itself at a crossro of conflict. The resulting battle of Medina in present-day Atascosa County on August 18, crushed the rebellion in the bloodiest battle ever fought in Texas. Arredondo enforced martial law in San Antonio. Suspected collaborators and republican sympathizers were killed or severely punished, and the city suffered the burden of an occupation army. During the Mexican periodSan Antonio lost its status as a provincial capital, when Texas was ed to neighboring Coahuila and the seat of government moved to far off Saltillo.
San Antonio instead served as the seat of government for the Department of Texas until the early s, when the state legislature created the departments of Texas and Brazos in response to population growth in Texas. In the immediate aftermath of Mexican independence, San Antonio served as the political center of the province, and its citizens actively lobbied for American immigration to support regional economic growth and Indian defense.
Leading citizens of San Antonio participated in the drafting of both the Federal Constitution of and the Constitution of Coahuila and Texas of When Texas finally rebelled against Santa Anna and the Centralist government in Mexico City, city leaders sided with the rebels. The only two Tejano representatives to the convention at Washington-on-the-Brazos to the Texas Declaration of Independence were both San Antonio-born as was the leading Tejano military figure on the Texan side.
San Antonio once more became the site of critical campaigns during the Texas Revolutionincluding the siege of Bexar from October to December in which Texan forces ultimately wrested control of the city from Mexican defenses. On February 23,Texas soldiers garrisoned in the Alamo began their fateful stand against the larger Mexican army under the command of Gen.
Following the battle of San Jacinto and the evacuation of Mexican forces, Bexar County was organized by the Republic of Texas in Decemberand San Antonio was chartered in January as its seat. In a failed attempt to negotiate the release of captives held by Comanche Indians resulted in the Council House Fight —yet another battle in the streets of the town. San Antonio was seized twice in the Mexican invasions of After Texas entered the Union, growth became rapid, as the city became a servicing and distribution center for the western movement of the United States.
Beginning with the Mexican War inthe United States military established a presence in San Antonio that would forge a lasting connection with the city. The Quartermaster Depot occupied the Alamo in to the early s until land south of the city was purchased inand the United States Army established the San Antonio Arsenal to serve as storage for ordnance and arms to supply army troops.
In local militia forced the surrender of the federal arsenal at San Antonio even before the state seceded on March 2. Subsequently, San Antonio served as a Confederate depot. Several units such as John S. Ford 's Cavalry of the West were formed there, though the city was removed from the fighting during the Civil War.
After the war, San Antonio prospered as a cattle, distribution, mercantile, and military center serving the border region and the Southwest. The city had experienced steady growth from a population of 3, in to 8, inwhen San Antonio had become for the time the largest town in Texas ahead of Galveston. Germans made up a large part of this growth; German speakers outed both Tejanos and Anglos until after The city was the southern hub and supplier of the cattle trail drivesand an important wool market developed with the importation of merino sheep to the adjacent Hill Country.
Railro in Texas had a profound effect on cities, and, with the coming of the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio Railway inSan Antonio, formerly without a transportation system, entered a new era of economic growth. In a second railroad, the International-Great Northern, reached the city from the northeast, and five railro had built into the city by The population reached 20, in and increased to approximately 45, for the city in with a total population for Bexar County at 47, The new immigration was overwhelmingly native born Anglos, mostly from Southern states, but a breakdown of nationalities in the agricultural census for the county reflected a remarkable diversity in ethnicities.
The city had ten schools and sixty-five teachers. Modernization was explosive in the s, comparable to growth patterns across the United States. Civic government, utilities, street paving and maintenance, water supply, telephones, hospitals, and a power plant were all established or planned. Bexar County had merchants, lawyers, 32 physicians, and 9 banks. The colorful festive atmosphere drew commentary from writers Stephen Crane and O. In the late s German immigrant William Gebhardt had opened a factory on West Commerce Street in the city to manufacture his own chili powder and would go on to market his product on a national scale.
Construction of a permanent army post on more than ninety-two acres located two and one-half miles northeast of the Alamo included a headquarters, a hospital, and some sixty other structures.
In the post was deated Fort Sam Houston. Theodore Roosevelt. San Antonio was once again the largest city in the state inwith a population of 53, That figure ballooned to 96, in After Mexican immigration greatly increased due to the Mexican Revolution and the development of local service industries.
The Spanish-language newspaper La Prensa was founded in and went daily in The periodical kept readers abreast of events in Mexico, covered Mexican politics, and provided announcements for area Mexican and Mexican American organizations. Each successive group of immigrants put its stamp upon the city, its culture, and architecture; all mingled, none quite submerging the others.
Each period of growth produced characteristic and often distinguished architecture. Peculiarly, San Antonio succeeded in merging its past into the new in each generation. Perhaps no preservation effort would be as ificant and defining for the city and millions of tourists as the work to save the Alamo. The state of Texas purchased the Alamo from the Catholic Church in —an action that marked the first time that a structure was purchased for the sake of historic preservation in the United States west of the Mississippi. Two decades later in the early s, members of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas worked to expand the Alamo property and eventually assumed stewardship of the complex.
The Germans particularly brought cultural traditions in the form of music, the arts, and architecture to San Antonio.
German musicians formed an orchestra for the state Saengerfest, held in San Antonio inand were instrumental in the formation of symphony orchestras in the city in the early s, though the San Antonio Symphony Orchestra was not formally established until During the late nineteenth century and into the early twentieth century, many of the prominent German families built residences in the King William Historic District which became known for its fine Victorian homes.
In the s San Antonio began its long historical association with the advancement of aviation. In the U. Benjamin Foulois. Her sister Marjorie, also an instructor at the school, was the first pilot to deliver mail by air in Texas. In Capt. The base, named for Lt. George E. Kelly, who was killed in a crash at Fort Sam in and was the first U. An instructor training facility that soon became known as Brooks Field opened in A balloon and airship school followed at the facility. As a result of the war, the army expanded its military footprint in San Antonio as the site of Camp Travis originally named Camp Wilson for the training of the Ninetieth Division.
The army also leased additional land adjacent to the already-established Leon Springs Military Reservation to establish Camp Bullis and Camp Stanley in In San Antonio, still the largest city in Texas, had a population ofOn September 9—10,San Antonio suffered one of its greatest disasters in history—a devastating flood that inundated downtown with up to twelve feet of water in some areas. A massive wall of water swept through the streets and tore through structures, including city hall, police headquarters, and hospitals.
At least fifty-one people died and others were missing. The catastrophe remains the worst flood on record in terms of loss of life and property and prompted city officials to pursue flood control measures.Real San Antonio ad
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