TwHP Lessons

San Antonio Missions:
Spanish Influence in Texas

[Cover photo] Mission San Jose (Photo by Beth Boland)

Most Americans know the clarion call "Remember the Alamo!" and have a hazy recollection that the "fort" originally had been built as a Spanish mission. What is less well known outside the Southwest is that the Mission San Antonio de Valero--the Alamo--was only one of a chain of missions strung along the San Antonio River. Established between 1718 and 1731, these missions were built not only to spread the faith of the conquistadors, but also to serve multiple foreign policy objectives for the Spanish government.

The famous Alamo is now a state historic site under the stewardship of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas and serves primarily as a reminder of the Texas Revolution of 1835-36. The other San Antonio River missions--Concepcion, San José, San Juan, and Espada--with some surrounding lands, constitute San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. By cooperative agreement with the Archdiocese of San Antonio, the mission churches remain active places of worship. Their importance, however, reaches far beyond their religious significance.


About This Lesson

Getting Started: Inquiry Question

Setting the Stage: Historical Context

Locating the Site: Maps
 1. Mission sites and rivers
 2. Mission Trail

Determining the Facts: Readings
 1. The San Antonio Missions and
 the Spanish Frontier

 2. The Spaniards and the Indians

Visual Evidence: Images
 1. Plan of Mission San José
 2. Mission San José
 3. Mission San José Church
 4. Main entrance, Mission San José Church
 5. Convento Garden, Mission San José
 6. Espada Aqueduct and Acequia

Putting It All Together: Activities
 1. Comparing Spanish and English
 Colonial Policy

 2. Researching the Columbian Exchange
 3. Researching the Community

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San Antonio Missions NHP

This lesson is based on the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, one of the thousands of properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Mission Concepcion and the Espada Aqueduct and Acequia have been designated National Historic Landmarks.




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National Park Service arrowhead with link to NPS website.