Eighteenth-century mission in San Antonio, Texas, U.S., site of a historic siege of a small group of Texans by a Mexican army (1836) during the Texas war for independence from Mexico. The abandoned mission was occupied occasionally by Spanish troops, who named it the Alamo (“cottonwood”) after the surrounding trees. At the start of the war in December 1835, Texan volunteers occupied the Alamo and vowed to fight to the death any attempt to recapture it. In February 1836 a Mexican army of several thousand began a siege that lasted 13 days.
The Texan force of about 200, led by Col. James Bowie and including Davy Crockett, was overrun; nearly all the defenders were killed (about 15 persons, mostly women and children, were spared). Mexican casualties were estimated at between 600 and 1,600 dead and perhaps 300 wounded. “Remember the Alamo!” became a rallying cry for Texans through the remainder of the war for independence and for U.S. soldiers during the Mexican-American War (1846-48).
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