The Alamo is best known for the epic battle that took place in 1836. However, the Spanish mission has played an important role for more than 300 years. Situated near the headwaters of the San Antonio River, the location naturally attracted wildlife and humans. The Spanish, hoping to solidify their claim to Texas, established a foothold here by 1731 consisting of presidio or fort, civil town, and five missions. The Alamo, originally named Mission San Antonio de Valero, was the first to be founded in 1718. These early Spanish developments formed the base of what would become San Antonio.
Although it began as a mission, the Alamo evolved into a frontier military outpost for Spain, Mexico, Texas, and the United States. Even Confederate troops occupied the site during the Civil War. This defensive role explains why several important battles occurred here. Whoever controlled the Alamo controlled San Antonio, whoever controlled San Antonio controlled Texas, and whoever controlled Texas controlled events beyond its border. For these reasons the Alamo's history is a "story bigger than Texas."
"The Alamo: A Story Bigger Than Texas" exhibit showcases the 300 year history of the site through highlights from the Alamo and Phil Collins Texana Collections. These are unique artifacts that you won't see anywhere else. Entry to the Alamo Exhibit is limited to visitors who purchase an audio tour.