New exhibit showcases origins of Alamo, Spanish missions in Texas

By Marilyn Tennissen | Nov 29, 2014

A new exhibit at the Alamo will feature rare Spanish documents from the 1700s that tell the tale of the foundation of the mission system in San Antonio.

“Alamo Origins: The Birth of Spanish Texas” opens Sept. 6 and will run through December. It is free and open to the public and is presented by the Alamo and the Texas General Land Office.

According to a press release, it is “considered one of the first, large scale exhibits at the Alamo to examine the origins of the Alamo and the Spanish mission system and their roles in the creation of Texas.”

“Everyone remembers the Fall of the Alamo in 1836,” said Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson. “But we want you to learn about the Rise of the Alamo that started in 1718.   The story of where the Alamo came from – and who started it – is equally compelling and long overdue. The Texas we all know today started here, and it’s time we Texans knew it.”

The Alamo is now under the stewardship of the GLO, and Patterson, a history buff, has advocated expanding the study of Texas history to include Native Americans and Texans of Hispanic origin.

For years, the Alamo story focused on the Texas Revolution and its Anglo defenders.  But “Alamo Origins: the Spanish Birth of Texas” will feature 16 original documents in Spanish — with English translations provided — telling the story of the mission’s founding, the daily lives of the Native Americans who sought protection there and the eventual secularization, or transfer of ownership, of mission property.

The 16 documents that will be displayed inside the Shrine – originally begun as the mission church – were culled from the archival collections of the General Land Office, the Alamo and the Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library.

The fragile Spanish maps and documents provide fascinating insight on the missions as frontier outposts vital to the Spanish Empire’s control of the region and defense against incursions by the French.

“When you can see the original Spanish decree that authorized Capt. Juan Valdez, the military garrison commander, to select a site for a new mission, it brings this history to life,” Patterson said.  “Texans love their history.  This exhibit adds depth and richness that most folks won’t expect.”

For more information on the Alamo, please visit or the Official Alamo website at


WHO:             Lovers of Texas history
WHAT:           Alamo Origins: The Birth of Spanish Texas
WHEN:           Sept. 6 through Dec. 31, 2013
WHERE:         The Alamo, 300 Alamo Plaza, San Antonio, Texas
WHY:              To examine the origins of the Alamo and the Spanish mission system and their roles in the creation of Texas.


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