In many books about the Alamo they all said the phrase, “Remember the Alamo”. It is often a misquoted reference to the 1836 battle and actually does very little to help us remember the real Alamo. The years following the 1793 secularization of the Mission San Antonio de Valero were mostly forgotten. Until recently, this period of the Alamo's history seemed doomed to remain hidden forever. The history of the Alamo begins long before 1836. It is the story of a thriving community whose citizens lived and died within the shadow of the mission's walls.
The Alamo was originally a mission where priests converted and educated the natives. It was built by Spanish priests and their Indian converts in 1724. The mission was called San Antonio de Valero and later became the home to the Spanish soldiers whose company name, Alamo de Parras, would forever be a part of that place. In the early 1800's, expansionists, like Aaron Burr, called for the invasion of Spanish territory causing Spain to look toward the United States with great anxiety. When Spain purchased the Louisiana territory in 1803, the Spanish made plans to repel any possible foreign invasion by concentrating Spanish troops on the Texas frontier. As the first of several efforts, the Alamo de Parras Company marched under orders from Chihuahua to Texas to San Antonio de Béjar to support the existing Béjar Presidio, which was the center of Spanish defense in western Texas. Most of the soldiers arrived on the Rio San Antonio by January 1803 with their families following that spring. The existing soldiers of the Béxar Presidial Company already had their own residences in the area and so they gave up their quarters to the new arrivals.
The new company found it to be less than satisfactory. Francisco Amangual, the commander of the Alamo de Parras Company, found the barracks on Plaza de Arms in poor condition. Evaluating his options, he moved his men and their families across the San...