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Learning About the Texas Revolution

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The Texas Revolution ignited a series of events that eventually resulted in Texas joining the United States of America. Prior to becoming an independent republic, the area known as Texas was considered to be the property of Mexico. Spain had exerted a tremendous amount of control over the southern part of North America, b ut Spain ran into problems with Mexico, its colony at the time , which ignited a Mexican revolution that lasted for 11 years. In the end, the outcome of the Mexican War of Independence would help set the course for the conflict that would be called the Texas Revolution.

To set the stage for the Texas Revolution, we first need to look at the Mexican War of Independence. Prior to 1810, the southern portion of North America was known as New Spain. In 1810, the Mexican colonists started a revolution that would finally end in 1821 with the independence of New Spain. As soon as New Spain signed the peace treaty with Spain, the new country’s name was changed to Mexico. One of the newly formed Mexican states was its northern-most territory, known as Coahuila y Tejas.

The Spanish settlers who had moved into Coahuila y Tejas had originally made the settlement of San Antonio de Bexar the capital. But when Mexico assumed control of Coahuila y Tejas, it moved the capital city to Saltillo, which is hundreds of miles south. The original Tejano population was much too small to be able to adequately protect the territory from Native American raids, so Mexico opened up its borders and allowed Europeans and settlers from the United States to come in and beef up the population. When the number of new, white settlers significantly outnumbered the Tejanos, Mexico closed the territory’s borders to immigration.

At the start of 1835, Mexico was shifting its form of government from a federalist model to more of a centralized dictatorship. By this time, there were rumblings that there would be new taxes on Coahuila y Tejas when the new Mexican government was formed. In the settlement of San Felipe de Austin, a committee was formed to discuss the possibility of secession. One of the other concerns was the disarming of local militia groups that Mexican President Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna had ordered before the new Mexican government could take control. The citizens of San Felipe refused to turn over their weapons, which included a canon supplied by the Mexican government, so Santa Anna sent in the Mexican army to claim the weapons.

The San Felipe militia buried the canon near a river bank so it could not be found, then waited for the Mexican army to show up. The Mexican army arrived in the middle of a rain storm that made it impossible for them to cross the river into San Felipe. While the Mexican army camped by the river, the Texan army gathered on the other side. By the time the Mexican army was ready to attack, there was a formidable Texas force there to push the Mexican army back and out of Texas. The Texas Revolution had started, and it would last for a year.

During the Texas Revolution, a former Spanish mission called the Alamo in San Antonio was under siege for 13 days. The army of President Santa Anna, which consisted of 1,500 men, was desperately trying to defeat the Texas army, and Santa Anna saw San Antonio and the Alamo as keys to the Texas army’s hold on the region. When the battle was over, all of the Texas army soldiers were killed, while Santa Anna lost only a handful of his troops. But the legend of the Alamo was used as inspiration by a Texas army general, Sam Houston, to rally the Texans.

At the San Jacinto River in Galveston, the Texas army initiated a surprise attack on the army of Santa Anna on April 21, 1836. By the time the battle was over, the Texans had defeated the Mexican army and captured Santa Anna. Terms for surrender were discussed, and Santa Anna signed the Treaties of Velasco on May 14, 1836. The Republic of Texas was formed, but it was not done fighting just yet.

Despite a treaty being in place, the Mexican army still attacked Texas settlements and captured prisoners on a regular basis. The battles between Texas and Mexico raged on for years. In 1845, the Republic of Texas was annexed by the United States. In 1846, the United States army defeated the Mexican army in the Mexican-American War and Texas was finally free of Mexican rule. Sam Houston would go from being the president of the Republic of Texas immediately after the Texas Revolution to a United States senator, then went on to become governor of Texas in 1859.

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