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Tue, 02.23.1836

The Alamo conflict, why did it happen?

*On this date in 1836, the Mexican army began attacking the Alamo in Texas.  This saga of the American story intersects with Black history in America.

Most of the men and women who moved to the Texas territory were colonizers who came in search of wealth and adventure, eager to grab up the land Mexico was handing out by the acre. In doing so, they agreed to convert to Catholicism and become Mexican citizens. Few did either. Once in Texas, they also realized there was much money to be made in Mexico's cotton industry. Their problem of labor involved was quickly solved through slavery which Mexico had banned.

Shocked by the rapidly rising rate of white immigration and disgusted by their use of slavery, the Mexican government started slapping on restrictions, which were ignored. The battle of the Alamo was fought over issues like Federalism, slavery, immigration rights, the cotton industry and above all, money. General Santa Anna arrived at San Antonio; his Mexican army with some justification regarded the Texans as murderers.  Many of the American settlers ("Texians" they were called) were Southerners who believed in and practiced slavery.

Through a series of battles on April 21, 1836 Santa Anna's force of about 1,200 was over-run in broad daylight by a sudden attack on its camp by Sam Houston's entire Texan force, then numbering 918. With the Texan camp only about a mile away over open terrain, Santa Anna had apparently posted no sentinels before retiring for a siesta and letting his tired troops do the same. The Texans lost nine dead and 30 wounded. Houston, who led from the front, lost two horses and was shot in the foot.

Santa Anna, captured the next day in the bushes, agreed to recognize Texas independence and ordered all Mexican forces to evacuate the Lone Star state.

The Black West by William Loren Katz.
A Touchtone Book, published by Simon & Shuster Inc.
Copyright 1987, 1996 by Ethrac Publications, Inc.
ISBN 0-684-81478-1

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