In the saga of Texas history, no other period is so distinctive, so accented by epic events, as the interval of Texas' struggle for independence and its nine formative years as a sovereign republic. During the early 1800's, Spain set the stage for Texas freedom by enacting policies to help fend off its takeover by French and British rivals. As a last-ditch defense of its unpopulated territories, the Crown opened up lands between the lower Trinity and Guadalupe Rivers to American immigrants. Lured by lands as cheap as four cents per acre, the influx of homesteaders grew from trickle to flood. Anglo-American immigrants soon vastly outnumbered Mexican-Texans (Tejanos).
After seizing control of Mexico in 1833, Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna extended ironhanded-rule to Texas. By 1835, his attempts to stop immigration, prohibit weapons needed by settlers for Indian defense, impose high tariffs and abolish slavery turned most Texans against hopes of staying under Mexican rule.
On March 2, 1836, after more than a year of conclaves, failed negotiations and a few armed conflicts, citizen delegates met at Washington-on-the-Brazos to declare Texas independence, voting to raise an army under Gen. Sam Houston and adopt a constitution.
Four days later, the Alamo fell to Santa Anna. Then, 342 Texans surrendered at Goliad and were executed. Women and other noncombatants fled toward the safety of Galveston and the U.S. border at Louisiana in what became known as the Runaway Scrape. Near Gonzales, Sam Houston issued the call for volunteers, most of them sharp-shooting Southerners.
Seeming to join the hasty retreat, Sam Houston moved eastward, burning whatever Santa Anna might take. All the while, his little army grew as it marched toward a lucky cornering of the Mexican army on a marshy plain at the mouth of the San Jacinto River near Houston (Independence Timeline of Events ).
Across this area now densely populated and highly diverse in offerings for modern travelers, the hallowed spots where those small groups of buck-skinned patriots cast their lot for Texas freedom are well marked within the 28 counties of the Texas Independence Trail Region .
ANNUAL TEXAS INDEPENDENCE EVENTS
Beginning of the Alamo Siege
San Antonio (February)
Texas Independence Day Celebrations (on and around March 2)
(weekend closest to Independence Day each year)
Gonzales Salutes Texas’ Freedom (March 2nd)
Toast to Texas, Sebastopol SHS, Seguin (March 2nd)
Independence Day celebration at First Capitol Replica, W. Columbia (March 2nd)
Independence Day celebration in Lockhart (March 2nd)
Remember the Alamo Weekend - San Antonio
(weekend nearest March 6)
Dawn at the Alamo - San Antonio
Goliad Massacre Living History Program
Presidio La Bahia (last weekend of March)
Runaway Scrape Interpretative Weekend
George Ranch Historical Park, near Richmond
San Jacinto Day Living History Program
San Jacinto Battleground SHP (April 21)
Battle of Salado Creek
San Antonio (September)
Come and Take It Festival
Gonzales (weekend closest to October 2nd)
Battle of Bejar and the Capitulation of General Cos
San Antonio (December)