San Antonio Culture & History

Mark Twain included San Antonio in his list of America’s four unique cities and not without reason. The city has been the confluence of varied cultures for ages. Located on the San Antonio River in Bexar County it is the third-largest city of Texas. Saint Anthony of Padua is the namesake of both the city and the River. It is fun knowing interesting facts about the place that greatly adds to the fascination of sightseeing. Particularly tidbits of unknown information weave a delightful thread around the historical saga.

San Antonio History

San Antonio Mission
San Antonio Mission Trail

The recorded history of San Antonio can be said to begin with the establishment of the Mission San Antonio de Valero. In 1718 Father Antonio Olivares opened the Mission even as fortified strongholds of both the Spanish and the Mexicans were coming up. But even before that, the place was occupied by native Indian communities who dwelt here. In time with the setting up of the five Spanish missions located along the river, it was San Antonio de Béxar that became the capital of Spanish Texas.

It was the River that primarily drew the people to occupy the regions around the San Antonio area. In time the Presidia or military outposts were created nearby to act as halfway stations and supply points for other Spanish missions in East Texas. Later, both the mission and the Presidia were relocated a few miles farther to the south in what is today the heart of downtown San Antonio.

The city was also the southern hub and supplier of cattle trail drives. This helped create a wool market that helped develop the important merino sheep trading. With the coming of the railways, San Antonio entered a new era of economic growth. Gradually the city expanded and succeeded in emerging stronger, with each successive generation adding to its thriving air of prosperity.

Which is how we see it now. San Antonio retains its sense of history and tradition while blending in its cosmopolitan growth. Spanish structures guilelessly co-exist next to modern glass towers. It is this seamless merging of different eras and cultures that lends the city its unique charm drawing in a steady stream of visitors. The city has imbibed the flavors of multifarious cultures and we see Native Americans, Old Mexico, Germans, the Wild West, African-Americans, and the Deep South settled-in together as one harmonious blend. San Antonio is a great city with a greater heritage.

More than twenty million visitors a year delight in the discovery of San Antonio’s charms. San Antonio is famous for its Riverwalk and the Alamo that allow it to remain engulfed in its history. Every April, San Antonio hosts Fiesta San Antonio, a 10-day celebration of the city’s diverse cultures and of the heroes of the Battle of the Alamo and the Battle of San Jacinto, featuring over one hundred events held throughout the city.

Tour of downtown San Antonio

Just a cursory tour of downtown San Antonio will uncover centuries of historical facts about the city. Watch out for La Villita, Spanish Governor’s Palace, San Fernando Cathedral, Jose Antonio Navarro State Historical Park, Market Square and Steves Homestead that will acquaint you with San Antonio’s rich past. Some amazing facts regarding the city that go to make San Antonio what it is, are regarding

  • The Alamo located here is considered the cradle of Texas liberty and the state’s most popular historic site.
  • Samuel Maverick had the bell in the church tower made from iron scraps from cannonballs from the battle of the Alamo. This quaint beautiful church is walking distance from the Alamo.
  • The jewel of the city is the Paseo del Rio, or River Walk, meandering through the downtown area lined with numerous shops, bars, and restaurants as well as the Arneson River Theater.
  • The headwaters of the San Antonio river are on the grounds of the University of Incarnate Word. The river bubbles out of the ground with its amazing blue waters from a concrete “well” seemingly right out of the ground.
  • Church’s Chicken started in San Antonio, before being bought by Popeye’s and moving its headquarters away.
  • One of the more famous San Antonio residents is Tommy Lee Jones who resides in Terrell Hills, a community in San Antonio.San Antonio’s Fiesta is only second in size to mardi gras! Also Seaworld San Antonio is the largest out of the three Seaworld parks.
  • San Antonio is the seventh-most populated city in the United States.
  • San Antonio is home to five major universities with both undergraduate and graduate programs
  • San Antonio is home to many Fortune 500 companies, including HEB Grocery, USAA, SBC Communications, Frost National Bank, Taco Cabana, Southwest Research Institute, Valero Energy, Luby’s Cafeteria, Clarke American, QWest Communications and Tesoro Petroleum.
  • The San Antonio Spurs, the Alamo City’s NBA franchise, have won three NBA Championships

Popular Destination

All said and done San Antonio neatly captures the spirit of Texas to remain a popular destination for history buffs. From its Native American occupation, discovery by Spanish explorers, old missions, the battle of the Alamo, and the Old West, the history and attractions of this beautiful city can entertain its visitors for days. Hall of Texas History war museum recalls Texas history events. The art museums and theaters are among the finest. Its symphony orchestra rates with the nation’s best, and San Antonians’ love for fiestas remains unsurpassed! No Reason why you should not log on to the Sanantonio Hotels to get comfy while you do the place up for a taste of history.