Alamo, The, a mission building in San Antonio, Texas. It is the only structure that remains on the site of the most famous battle in the Texas war for independence from Mexico, 1835-36. The building is preserved by the state as “the cradle of Texas liberty.” The Alamo was built in 1744 by Franciscan friars as the chapel of the Mission San Antonio de Valero (founded in 1718). The original chapel collapsed due to faulty construction. The present building was erected in the 1750's. Abandoned in 1793, the mission was later used as a military barracks and renamed El Alamo (after the town of Alamo de Parras in Mexico).
Texans captured the fortress in December, 1835. Although ordered by General Sam Houston to abandon it, some 150 Texans garrisoned the Alamo. They were commanded by William Barret Travis and James Bowie, and included Davy Crockett of Tennessee. Also in the fortress were about 30 women and children.
On February 23, 1836, the troops of General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna (ultimately numbering about 3,000) began the 13-day siege of the Alamo. The Texans were hopelessly outnumbered. A few volunteers crept through the Mexican lines to bring their number to an estimated 187 men. On March 6, the Mexicans stormed the Alamo. Bloody hand-to-hand fighting followed, and all of the defenders were killed. The women and children were spared. Mexican casualties were estimated between 600 and 1,600. Reports of the battle rallied Texans to the cause of independence. “Remember the Alamo!” became their battle cry.