Today in Texas History

On April 21, 1836, in a decisive battle that lasted but 18 minutes just east of where the city bearing his name sits today, Sam Houston and some 940 Texans defeated a 1,200-strong detachment of the Mexican Army led by General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, who had led the victorious Mexican campaign at the Alamo on March 6 of that year. Houston exhorted his men to remember the battle of the Alamo and the subsequent Goliad massacre. And remember they did, catching the Mexicans by surprise as they were taking their afternoon siesta about 3:30 local time. Only nine of the Texans died in the fight, compared to 630 Mexican troops killed and 730 taken prisoner. The Battle of San Jacinto was a critical one, not just in Texas history but American history as well — Texas won its independence that day, and nine years later became the 28th state in the U.S. Shortly after that, after the Mexican War of 1846-47, Mexico ceded the state of California and New Mexico to the U.S. These territories also comprised present-day Colorado, Utah, Arizona and Nevada as well as parts of Wyoming.
All of which makes these words something to ponder…

…the silence we celebrate in continues to boggle my mind. We loudly celebrate Cinco de Mayo – the 5th of May – where a Mexican army defeated an imperialistic venture of Napoleon III on May 5th, 1862.
The United States was too preoccupied with its own Civil War to react to a French attempt to take over Mexico, and a smaller Mexican army defeated a much larger French army, ending Napoleon III’s venture before it got out of hand. In many ways, we should be thankful that Mexico defeated the French. I mean, after all, could you imagine having a French state as a neighbor? It’s bad enough to have Quebec so close to American shores!
But still – we celebrate with sales, parties, and lots of drinking the 5th of May. Why is it that April 21st passes in such silence? The 18 minute Battle of San Jacinto was, without much exaggeration, one of the most important battles in the history of the United States…

Celebrating Cinco de Mayo is all fine and good, I suppose…but still I think that San Jacinto Day should be celebrated with at least as much fanfare, delicate sensibilities of a certain demographic be damned.



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