San Antonio, Texas

City: San Antonio

County: Bexar

State: Texas

Lat/Long: 29.4167, -98.4833

Although Native Americans lived in the San Antonio River Valley for centuries before the first European contact, the Spanish established the first European settlement in the area in 1718, when Martín de Alarcón founded a Franciscan mission, San Antonio de Valero (later the Alamo), and a presidio, San Antonio de Béjar. In 1731, Spanish settlers established San Fernando as the first civilian community, and in the 1790s, the Spanish officials consolidated the three settlements into San Antonio. In 1809, Spanish authorities incorporated San Antonio as a city. San Antonio became a part of Mexico when the latter declared its independence from Spain in 1821. During the Texas Revolution, Texans captured the city in 1835, but the Mexicans took the city in 1836 after the siege and capture of the Alamo. Texans occupied the city again after the victory at the Battle of San Jacinto. By 1850, San Antonio had the second largest population in the state. By 1860, German and other European immigration had raised the population of San Antonio to 8,000, making it the largest city in the state. San Antonio became a center for stage lines and freighting companies, supporting itself by facilitating travel to California, supplying army garrisons in the region, and by trading with Mexico.

Webster’s New Geographical Dictionary (Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, 1988), 1063; Courtlandt Canby, The Encyclopedia of Historic Places (New York: Facts on File, 1984), 2:820; T. R. Fehrenbach, Lone Star: A History of Texas and the Texans (New York: MacMillan, 1968), 320.