The Alamo, San Antonio, Texas
The Alamo Mission in San Antonio, commonly known simply "The Alamo", was originally known as the Mission San Antonio de Valero. It is a former Roman Catholic mission and fortress compound and the site of the Battle of the Alamo in 1836. It is now a museum in the Alamo Plaza District of Downtown San Antonio, Texas, USA. Built by the Spanish Franciscan priest, Antonio de Olivares, and Payaya Indians, it forms the genesis of the present city of San Antonio, Texas, along with the Presidio San Antonio de Bexar and the Acequia Madre de Valero.
The compound, which originally consisted of a sanctuary and surrounding buildings, was built by the Spanish Empire in the 18th century for the education of local Native Americans after their conversion to Christianity. In 1793, the mission was secularized and soon abandoned. Ten years later, it became a fortress housing the Mexican Army group, the Second Flying Company of San Carlos de Parras, who likely gave the mission the name Alamo.
Mexican soldiers held the mission until December 1835, when General Martin Perfecto de Cos surrendered it to the Texian Army following the siege of Bexar. A relatively small number of Texian soldiers then occupied the compound. Texian General Sam Houston believed the Texians did not have the manpower to hold the fort and ordered Colonel James Bowie to destroy it. Bowie chose to disregard those orders and instead worked with Colonel James C. Neill to fortify the mission. On February 23, 1836 Mexican General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna led a large force of Mexican soldiers into San Antonio de Bexar and promptly initiated a siege. The siege ended on March 6, when the Mexican army attacked the Alamo; by the end of the Battle of the Alamo all, or almost all, of the defenders were killed. When the Mexican army retreated from Texas at the end of the Texas Revolution, they tore down many of the Alamo walls and burned some of the buildings.
As of 2002, the Alamo welcomed over four million visitors each year, making it one of the most popular historic sites in the United States. Visitors may tour the chapel, as well as the Long Barracks, which contains a small museum with paintings, weapons, and other artifacts from the era of the Texas Revolution.