Mission San Antonio de Valero, later became
famous as the Alamo, was established in 1718, the first of five Spanish missions founded in San Antonio to Christianize and educate resident Indians. The church structure that stands today in midtown was begun about 1755. Its mission role completed, the old buildings were abandoned by 1836 when the site, by then known as the Alamo, became the "cradle of Texas Liberty." Rebelling against repressions of Mexico's self-proclaimed dictator, Santa Anna, a band of 189 Texas volunteers defied a Mexican army of thousands for 13 days of siege (from Feb. 23 to Mar. 6). The Alamo defenders died to the last man, among them such storied names as William Travis, Davy
Crockett, and Jim Bowie.