9 Amazing Facts You Might Not Know About Texas Independence
Happy Texas Independence Day!
March 2nd marks the birthday of the Texas Declaration of Independence in 1836, when the settlers of the Lone Star State declared independence from Mexico, creating the Republic of Texas.
This story is as big as Texas itself, with grit, sacrifice, determination of will, and the ability to win against all the odds. The brave souls who fought for freedom will not be forgotten, and continue to inspire Texas pride in the hearts of all who wander the vast hills and plains of this great land.
Being a Texan is a truly special thing. Nowhere else in the country will you find a prouder people, who love their state and its rich history. There’s even a little bit of Texas history in the Alamo Pecan & Co name.
So, we want to honor this holiday by sharing some astonishing and lesser known facts about Texas Independence. Let these facts serve as a reminder that you don’t mess with Texas...
9 Amazing Facts About Texas Independence
Image source: Texas (Provisional government, 1835) San Felipe de Austin : Baker and Bordens, 1836
Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons
#1 Texas Wasn’t Supposed to Win
In 1835 Mexican General Antonio López de Santa Anna invaded the the Mexican state of Coahuila y Texas with an army of over 6,000 men. Basically, it was a massive army barreling down on small individual settlements.
Statistically, the Texans should have been easily defeated. But, with sheer determination and strength of will, the Texas Army fought off and eventually crushed Santa Ana at the Battle of San Jacinto.
Image Source: Texas State Library and Archives Commission - Texas.gov
#2 The Battle at the Alamo Almost Didn’t Happen
One of the most legendary battles in history, the Battle of the Alamo, has always fired the public’s imagination. Countless songs, books, movies and poems have been dedicated to the 200 brave men who died on March 6, 1836 defending the Alamo.
But, Texas forces weren't even supposed to be there. General Houston ordered Jim Bowie to round up his army, destroy the Alamo, and head out. However, Bowie, in true Texas fashion, flees from no man, and was determined to stay put.
Image Source: Medium.com/@OfficialAlamo
#3 Texas Forces Were Incredibly Disorganized
Part of Santa Ana’s strategy was to advance swiftly, leaving little time for the Texans to respond. There was also a severe lack of funding on the Texan side, thus the army was just a ragtag hodgepodge of volunteers.
Plus, their leadership was divided between those who felt they should try to work with Mexico (like Stephen F. Austin) and others that felt like they had to fight out their grievances with Mexico (like William Travis). It's surprising the rebels got their act together enough to organize and strategize, let alone win a revolution.
Image Source: Texas Historical Commission, University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu
#4 Not All of the Texans’ Motives Were Pure
Part of Texas pride includes acknowledging the past, with the good and the bad. In the war for independence, many Texans fought because they loved freedom and hated tyranny, however not all of the motives were pure.
One major problem the settlers had with Mexico was their stance on slavery. Slavery was illegal in Mexico. Many Texas settlers came from southern states, and they brought their slaves with them. When Mexico decided to exercise their voice regarding slavery, it created great resentment among the settlers, and thus accelerated the conflict.
Image Source: “Come and Take It” Original oil painting 38x72 inches, 2015. By Kenneth Turner, KennethTurnerArt.com
#5 It All Started Over a Cannon
The rising tensions in mid-1835 between the Texan settlers and the Mexican government was obvious. Before the war, the Mexicans had left a small cannon in the town of Gonzales to ward off Indian attacks. With controversy soon approaching, the Mexicans made the decision to take the cannon out of the hands of the settlers. Lieutenant Francisco de Castañeda and 100 horsemen were sent to retrieve it.
When they reached Gonzales, they found the city in defense and were denied the cannon. The Texans at Gonzales brazenly mocked the Mexican army by waving a giant flag saying “Come and Take It”. The following battle that ensued was a mere skirmish, but is considered the first battle of the war. The Texan’s behavior was an insult to Mexican national honor, and a direct challenge by a rebellious people, who needed to be stopped immediately and decisively.
Image Source: blackforkblog.blogspot.com
#6 James Fannin Denied Help at the Alamo, Only to Suffer a Worse Fate
A West Point dropout, James Fannin, was made and officer and then promoted to Colonel of the Texas army. During the siege of the Alamo, Fannin and his Army of about 400 men were only 90 miles away in Goliad. Bowie and his men called upon Fannin for help, but were refused. Fannin’s thinking might have been that his 400 men would make no significant difference in opposition of the 6,000 men of the Mexican Army.
After the Battle of the Alamo, the Mexican Army moved to Goliad. The battle was short, and Fannin and his men were captured and killed on March 27,1836, in what is known as the Goliad Massacre.
Image Source: TexasAlmanac.com
#7 Some Mexicans Fought Alongside the Texans
The Texas Revolution was primarily pursued and fought by American settlers who had immigrated to Texas. However, before the settlers came, Texas was one of Mexico’s most lowly populated states. So, when the war started, there were still some Mexicans living among the settlers.
Those Mexicans were known as Tejanos. They naturally became entangled in the revolution and many of them joined the rebels. Mexico had long neglected Texas, and some Mexican locals felt they would be better off as an independent nation, or as part of the USA. In fact, three Tejanos even signed Texas Declaration of Independence.
#8 The Battle of San Jacinto Was One of the Most Lopsided Victories in History
April 1836, Mexican General Santa Anna was tracking down Sam Houston in East Texas. On April 19th, Houston found a spot for his men, and set up camp. Shortly after that, Santa Anna arrived and set up camp nearby. The next two days were mostly quiet, until Houston ordered an assault at 3:30 in the afternoon.
This took the Mexicans by complete surprise. Many of them were napping, and unprepared for the assault. The Mexicans attempting to flee found themselves stuck between a river and the rebels. The Texans were enraged after the massacres at the Alamo and Goliad, and fought with fervor. The final count in this battle, 630 Mexicans dead and 730 captured, including Santa Anna, with only nine Texas casualties.
Image Source: Kean Collection/Archive Photos/Getty Images
#9 Texas’s Independence Led Directly to the Mexican-American War
In 1836, Texas achieved independence, after General Santa Anna signed the papers while in captivity after the Battle of San Jacinto. Texas remained an independent nation for 9 years, fighting off the half-hearted threats of a Mexican reinvasion.
Mexico continued its aggression and repeatedly threatened that if Texas joined the USA, it would be viewed as an act of war. Regardless of the threats, Texas joined the USA, and was the fuel that fired Mexico’s anger. In 1846, the US and Mexico both sent troops to the US Mexico border, which erupted in the Mexican American War.