|Fig.1: What's this place again?|
First of all, why was Texas revolving anyway? Mexican rule of the region, as well as in California and New Mexico (yes, they already felt the need for a new one) had been shaky ever since their independence from Spain in 1821. The majority of the population were settlers from the southern United States who still preferred their familiar lifestyle of speaking English, owning slaves, and eating more than three meals a day (MURIKA!), even though those things where discouraged by the Mexican government. The man who decided to step up was Antonio de Padua María Severino López de Santa Anna y Pérez de Lebrón, or (thankfully) Santa Anna for short. Santa Anna was perhaps the major figure of independent Mexico's early history, becoming President a record eleven non-consecutive times (take that, Grover Cleveland)! In December 1835, he threw the original constitution in the shredder and sent out a memo regarding a new one. In it, he changed the style of rule from a federalist (the states have their own powers) to a centralized one (everybody has to listen to the big men in the capital), which threatened Texas's freedom to do what they wanted without any consequences. What kind of life is that?
|Fig.2: DEM SIDEBURNS!|
One of the Texian leaders, Sam Houston, did not think the Alamo was worth remembering right off the bat (insightful man), and ordered for its men and artillery to be transferred somewhere more important. Colonel James Bowie (along with his alter-ego, Ziggy Stardust) arrived to shut the fort down, but fell in love with its quaint style and groovy exterior, and promised the troops that he and the Spiders from Mars would help defend it. Some reinforcements and volunteers soon arrived, most notably Davy Crockett, king of the wild frontier, who felt the need to boost his legacy after apparently already killing a bear when he was only three, fighting single-handed through the Injun War, fixing the government, and patching up the Liberty bell (or so we heard tell). This brought the Texian force to a whopping total of nearly two hundred to defend the Alamo against Santa Anna's two thousand professionally-trained soldiers, but I'd double that number based on their heart and guts. So, yeah, they were still screwed.
|Fig.3: "C'mon, folks! Step right up to your certain death! |
"Please don't be shy!"
The final siege began at dawn on March 6, 1836. The estimated 189 Texian defenders put up a tremendous fight, but stood as much of a chance as a squirrel at a treeless dog park. One by one, the men were cut down in the heat of battle. Travis was shot while firing over the wall. Crockett reportedly killed sixteen Mexicans himself before becoming overwhelmed (fig.4). Bowie, still sick in bed but wishing to be a hero just for one day, fired his pistols as soldier after soldier burst into the room; he was eventually bayoneted, and sent to his floating tin can far above the world. A few Texians did attempt to surrender, but Santa Anna stayed true to his word about treating the rebels as pirates, giving them scurvy before ordering their execution. The wives and slaves of the defenders were kept alive and ordered to spread the word about the ferocious Mexican army and mariachi band here to end the rebellion.
|Fig.4: Crockett was unfortunately a little rusty in fighting single-handed that day.|
|Fig.5: Wouldn't it suck for Mexico if gold was |
discovered in the region they had to give up?
How unlucky would that be?
So is the Alamo really worth remembering? The Texians got their butts kicked but won the war soon thereafter anyway. Can't we just treat the Alamo like a worthless preseason game? Well, the loss at that shoddy fort may have boosted patriotism and brought more revolutionary soldiers into the fray. The cruelty the Mexicans displayed in slaughtering those noble defenders like pirates convinced many on-the-wooden-fence Texians to veer towards independence, and that rallying cry of "Remember the Alamo" kept them going as they charged to victory at San Jacinto. So maybe it wasn't the outcome of the battle that mattered, but the feeling of unity and determination that came out of it. Darn, I guess the Alamo deserves to be remembered after all! Better make room in my brain for it. Sorry, photosynthesis; you and your intricate yet simple chemical formula are going to have to be regarded as witchcraft as far as I'm concerned!