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The Spanish Missions of San Antonio, Texas

Updated on November 25, 2017

The Alamo - San Antonio's Most Famous Spanish Mission

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Texas

Besides being the place that I and many others call home, Texas is unique in the modern United States of America in more ways than any other state. A huge part of this is that there have been six official flags that have flown over Texas in modern North American history. Six Nations has Texas been a part of, and we've a very firm Spanish historical connection here, quite literally, written in the stone walls of the Spanish Missions across the State.

San Antonio, Texas - besides being one of the most historic and beautiful cities in the United States of America, was also one of the most loved by the Spanish that colonized it, and left us all with Five Beautiful Missions that we can all still see and enjoy.

Benjamin Rush "Ben" Milam

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The Alamo Mission Fortress.

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The Alamo

I honestly can't speak for the rest of the USA, but here in Texas, The Alamo is a VERY BIG DEAL. I can assume that if you are reading this that you well know about The Alamo, and if you do not, then your schooling, if done in America, was pathetic.

The Alamo was not originally a military fort at all, it only became one during the most famous battle of the Texas Revolution. The Alamo was a Spanish Mission long before it was militarized, and named The Alamo, which is Spanish for Cottonwood.

Originally named Misión San Antonio de Valero, The Alamo served as home to missionaries and their Indian converts for nearly seventy years. Construction began on the present site in 1724. In 1793, Spanish officials secularized San Antonio's five missions and distributed their lands to the remaining Indian residents. These men and women continued to farm the fields, once the mission's but now their own, and participated in the growing community of San Antonio, but by the early 1800's The Alamo had become a military fort for Spanish Calvary, later, it would become a military base for Mexican Revolutionaries and Mexican Royalist

But in In December 1835, Ben Milam - an ancestor of my own - led Texian and Tejano volunteers against Mexican troops quartered in the city. After five days of house-to-house fighting, they forced General Martín Perfecto de Cós and his soldiers to surrender. Following that The Alamo became a Texian fortress, and the rest, quite simply, is history.

The San Jose Mission, San Antonio, Texas

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The "Rose Window" of the San Jose Mission

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San Jose Mission

San Jose Mission was founded by famed Father Antonio Margil de Jesús, a very prominent Franciscan missionary in early Texas in 1720 and is a few miles South of San Antonio de Valero (the Alamo) along the San Antonio River.

The San Jose Mission is an active parish, and you too can attend mass on any Sunday.

The San Jose Mission is known as the Queen Of Missions for it's large size, and far more exquisite beauty than the others, but of course, that is all subjective. It was also once a totally impregnable fortress that the raiding Comanche and Apache Indians could never breach.

La Ventana de Rosa, the Rose Window, sculpted ca. 1775, has been the object of both legend and admiration. It is considered one of the finest examples of baroque architecture in North America.

The San Juan Mission, San Antonio, Texas

Mission San Juan was originally not in San Antonio. The original Mission San Juan was somewhere in East Texas, and was formed in 1716. The San Juan Mission of San Antonio was transferred to there in 1731 and in 1756 the Church construction was completed.

The San Juan Mission of San Antonio, Texas was a self sustaining community complete with orchards, iron works, and myriad vegetables produced annually. The San Juan Mission, in it's heyday of peak performance produced such a surplus of crops that it traded it's wares as far East and North as Louisiana, and as far South as Coahuila, Mexico. The economy of the San Juan Mission helped it survive through many attacks by Native American tribes.

San Juan Mission - San Antonio, Texas

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Concepcion Mission, San Antonio, Texas

Mission Concepcion was dedicated in 1755 and is the oldest non restored stone church in the United States of America. Though a lot of the detail is worn away, many of the old and original frescoes are still available to be seen in various room on the inside of the church.

Visitors can still go to church at Concepcion Mission every Sunday at ten o'clock a.m. The friars at this mission worked very hard towards replacing the Natives folk or religious rituals with those containing Catholic Christian ideals.

Concepcion Mission San Antonio, Texas - And A BONUS Picture of A Random Texas Hot Chick.

Mission Espada, San Antonio, Texas

The oldest of the five Spanish Missions along the San Antonio River, the Mission Espada is the only one that dates back to the seventeenth century - as it was formed in 1690. Like the Mission San Juan, the Mission Espada features a large triangular bell above the church. Though the Mission Espada has not had an active convent in over a hundred years - Franciscans regularly feed the birds, the cats in the area, and the place always has phenomenally beautiful flower gardens.

Mission Espada, San Antonio, Texas

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Conclusion

San Antonio is one of the most beautiful cities in not only North America, but the entire world. It has a deep and varied history full of regional color - and FIVE beautiful Spanish Missions for all to see, and to, hopefully, be preserved for generations to come.

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    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile imageAUTHOR

      Wesman Todd Shaw 

      7 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      Thank you very much weestro!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      I live pretty far North and East of those areas - closer to Dallas, but I do love to get to go to those places when I can :-D

    • weestro profile image

      Pete Fanning 

      7 years ago from Virginia

      My parents live in San Antonio and my sister lives in Austin. I love coming down to visit, we went to these missions last year, they are amazing. Great Hub, nice pictures too!

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile imageAUTHOR

      Wesman Todd Shaw 

      7 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      Thank You Very Much hafeezrm!!! Glad To Be Of Service!!

    • hafeezrm profile image

      hafeezrm 

      7 years ago from Pakistan

      I have seen these missions when I traveled from south to south (from San Diego to Jacksonville)long time back. It was a nice hike.

      You hub has brought back old memories.

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile imageAUTHOR

      Wesman Todd Shaw 

      7 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      HECK YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I think some of those states, the smaller ones. . . .really ain't got that much History!

    • Truckstop Sally profile image

      Truckstop Sally 

      7 years ago

      San Antonio is one of my favorite spots. Even have a hub dedicated to it, and you commented on it: https://hubpages.com/literature/San-Antonioriverwa...

      TX history is fascinating. TX and CA are the only states that study their history in school in both the 4th and 7th grades. Can you say -- Proud? Ha!

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile imageAUTHOR

      Wesman Todd Shaw 

      7 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      LOL! I don't think so!!! Heck No! I would like to see that though! Love California! I just like Tejas more!

    • 50 Caliber profile image

      50 Caliber 

      7 years ago from Arizona

      Wesman, cool introduction, can't say I never had opportunity, just never took time, maybe I'll get that way again and make time. Does San Jun Capistrano count?

      dust

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile imageAUTHOR

      Wesman Todd Shaw 

      7 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      Thank you very much Karen!!!!!!!!!!!

      Oh - The River Walk is even prettier - if possible, and if you go to San Antonio you'll DEFINITELY want to see that!

      https://hubpages.com/travel/San-Antonio-Texas-The-...

    • Karen N profile image

      Karen N 

      7 years ago from United States

      Love all the beautiful pictures. I hope to be able to visit the Alamo someday.

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile imageAUTHOR

      Wesman Todd Shaw 

      7 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      Thanks Mom! The fact that it is near to the beautiful time of year here only inspires me the more to write about this beautiful place we call "home."

    • profile image

      Patricia Shaw 

      7 years ago

      Hey Todd! This was a great one. I really enjoyed your writing and the photos too. Good memories inspired by the San Antone songs too.

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile imageAUTHOR

      Wesman Todd Shaw 

      7 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      Hey thanks Chris!!!!

      Gosh, I'd be the same way; and I can't help but imagine that over your way there are tons and tons more old buildings to explore.

      I sure think someone ought to give me a job! :=\

    • christopheranton profile image

      Christopher Antony Meade 

      7 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

      When I was young, I absolutely adored poking round old buildings. I still do.

      I would be in my element in San Antonio.

      Thanks for the article Wesman, and all the lovely pictures.

      The Texas tourist board should employ you.

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile imageAUTHOR

      Wesman Todd Shaw 

      7 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      Thank You Very Much Sue Swan!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      I think Charlie lives in Dallas or in the Dallas area - but I'm not sure. My grandpa used to sing me that song when I was twelve or so, and trying to strum the proper chords behind him :=D

    • profile image

      Sueswan 

      7 years ago

      Hi Wes!

      Is anybody going to San Antone? I would go just to hear Charley sing the song.

      Another informative, interesting and entertaining hub.

      Voted up and awesome

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile imageAUTHOR

      Wesman Todd Shaw 

      7 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      Thank you Flora!!!

      Yeah me too! That stuff is beautiful! We don't have a lot of great old architecture in the Americas; but San Antonio has a lot of what we got!

    • FloraBreenRobison profile image

      FloraBreenRobison 

      7 years ago

      I am familiar with The Alamo, of course, but didn't realize the word meant Cottonwood in English. I love art history and architecture, so my reaction to many of these photographs are to look at the construction and design.

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile imageAUTHOR

      Wesman Todd Shaw 

      7 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      Hey Thanks Leroy!!!! I haven't seen any of them in years and years. I went down to San Antone a few years back, but didn't make it to see any of them then.

    • leroy64 profile image

      Brian L. Powell 

      7 years ago from Dallas, Texas (Oak Cliff)

      I had not thought about the missions in years. Thanks for reminding me. They are an important part of Texas History.

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