The Amazing History of San Antonio, TX
What’s amazing about the history of San Antonio, TX is just how far back it goes. Having been named in 1691, and officially founded in 1718, the city remains one of the oldest Spanish colonies of European settlements to exist in the state of Texas. From the oldest city, to the now second largest city in the state, San Antonio is home to more than 1.39 million people…but what exactly got us here today?
The First Days
Before Europeans colonized this area, the land was home to a number of indigenous cultures. One of the most prominent groups to live in the San Antonio region were the Payaya Indians. They inhabited the area until Spanish settlers arrived in 1691. In that year, the city was named after the feast day of Saint Anthony, when a Spanish expedition came to the San Antonio River. The city wasn’t officially founded until 1718, when the first mission and presidio were established at San Pedro Springs.
After Spanish Settlement
In the earliest days of the city’s founding, settlers swiftly began building around the area. Some of the earlier buildings included missions, or churches, and presidios, or fortified bases. As the city began to grow, more homes were constructed, as well as the expansion of the town’s marketplace, and the establishment of a local brewery. After a series of fights and uprisings ensued, including the Texas Revolution and the Battle of Alamo, Mexico gained its independence from Spain in 1821, and Texas followed suit, gaining its independence from Mexico in 1836, following the Battle of San Jacinto.
San Antonio, TX Readjusts after Texan Independence
Shortly following the state’s independence, the United States annexed Texas, including it as a state of the Union. As relations were reevaluated with Mexico, new treaties were formed, and the Mexican War unfolded, devastating the city of San Antonio. Following this war, the city’s prospering population reduced to below 800 people. Nearly 30 years later, after new peace treaties and agreements were formed, the city regained its footing, and the population exceeded 15,000 people by 1860.
San Antonio and the Wild, Wild West
This region of the world became associated with Wild Western themes, and figures, such as cowboys, herding, outlaws, and ranching culture. Pulling from Spanish and Mexican techniques, cattle herding became a popular trade in the area. San Antonio became known for its character, being home to a diverse ethnic population, and gained popularity as a tourist destination for its quirks. This personality drew the attention of outlaws, particularly the well-known Wild Bunch, who used local buildings as hideouts in the late 1800’s.
The City Today
The city has come a long way from the start of their centuries old history. Today, the city of San Antonio is the second largest city in the state of Texas. Drawing in thousands of visitors a year, and continuously growing in population, the city serves as a hub of cultures, and remains diverse in its people, events, and ongoing history.
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