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American History - Assignment Example

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After you call up the site, click on the Battle, then on History for questions 1 & 2; Weather for question 3; and Myths and Misconceptions for numbers 4 &5.
In the 1724, the Alamo was built by Spanish officials to serve…
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The Alamo Few events in American History have created as much interest as the siege of the Alamo. Using the site that follows, answer the following questions.
In order to answer the questions, go to: www.thealamo.org. After you call up the site, click on the Battle, then on History for questions 1 & 2; Weather for question 3; and Myths and Misconceptions for numbers 4 &5.
1. Who occupied the Alamo before the Texans arrived?  Go right back to the earliest builders.
In the 1724, the Alamo was built by Spanish officials to serve as a home to missionaries and their Indian converts. It is from this purpose that the Alamo was originally named as Misión San Antonio de Valero.
After the secularization of the area in 1793, Spanish officials distributed the land to the remaining Indian residents. In the early 1800s, soldiers stationed at the former mission named the place as the Alamo which means “cottonwood” in Spanish — in reference to where these men came from, Alamo de Parras, Coahuila.
For years, the Alamo became the home of Mexican revolutionaries and royalists during the war for independence. The military — Spanish, Rebel, and then Mexican — continued to occupy the Alamo until the Texas Revolution.
2. What was Col. Traviss decision regarding the Alamo?  What did he ask the men to do?
Though Texians and Tejano volunteers were able to successfully occupy the Alamo in 1835, they were greeted by a surprise attack from General Santa Anna’s army – an assault which was held out for 13 days. Because of the intensity of the battle, the commander of the Alamo, Col. Travis sent forth couriers asking for help to communities in Texas.
However, as the hope for outside help faded, Col. Travis drew a line on the ground and asked those who were willing to fight to step over. All of them except one stayed to defend the Alamo. The defenders risked their lives to protect the key to Texas’ defense. They would rather die than surrender to General Santa Anna’s army.
Before the daybreak in March 6, 1836, the final assault of Mexican soldiers came as they scaled the walls and rushed inside the compound. The battle still continued as defenders continued to desperately fight the enemies. However, by sunrise, the battle ended as General Santa Anna entered the compound to proclaim his victory.
3. Read the chronology of the weather conditions - do you think it odd that one of the defenders took the trouble to keep a weather diary?  Why might this be important to historians today?
At first, I found it rather odd that defenders wrote extensively about the weather in Texas. However, in my view, the defenders found Texas weather to be rather odd and new for them. That is why, in their journal entries, defenders took time to note and comment heavily about the weather.
For historians, the weather diary is important to dispel the myth that in 1835 the coldest winter swept through Texas. This idea was held on because Mexican troops encountered a freak blizzard as they were on their way to Texas during the night of February 13 onwards. However, this type of weather did not extend to Texas.
From the diaries of William Fairfax Gray and Colonel Juan Almonte, historians can confirm that there was a “fine weather” in Texas from May 6 up to May 8. During the battle of the Alamo, typical Texas weather simply swept the area.
4. Did any Texans survive the assault on the Alamo?  (men or women)
While it is true that most of the Texans who were armed inside the forth were killed during the attack on March 2, 1836, there were nearly twelve people who were able to survive the siege. The lives of some women and children were spared. For instance, the slave of Col. Travis and James Bowie, respectively known as Joe and Sam survived the ordeal. Other known survivor included Susanna Dickinson who was ordered by General Santa Anna to warn Gonzales that they await the same fate if they would continue their revolt. Also, a former Mexican soldier and member of the Alamo garrison, Brigido Guererro, survived when he claimed that he was just a prisoner held as captives by the rebels.
5. Col. Travis is usually portrayed in the movies as rather pompous. What is known about his personality?
In the media, Col. Travis was often portrayed as a tyrant with a pompous character. This portrayal was held because volunteers refused to take orders from Col. Travis and they elected James Bowie as their leader. However, the dispute within the group can be rather seen as a philosophical one – between regulars and officers than between the garrison and Col. Travis. The volunteers simply did not want to take orders from anyone, even from a regular officer of the Texas Army. The truth is that in their account, Col. Travis was known to be an outgoing and gregarious fellow who was, in fact, well-respected in the group. Read More
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