San Antonio History

Last Updated :
San Antonio, Texas, is currently the seventh-largest city in the United States. In San Antonio’s earliest days, Native Americans lived along the San Antonio River, calling the area "Yanaguana," which means "refreshing waters" or "clear waters." Spanish explorers and missionaries first discovered the river in 1691, and because it was the feast day of St. Anthony, they named the river "San Antonio." The actual founding of the city came in 1718 by Father Antonio Olivares when he established Mission San Antonio de Valero, which became permanently etched in history as the Alamo. The Battle of the Alamo took place in 1836, and eventually the town would grow to encompass the mission where the battle took place, a mile to the east. Texas independence was finally attained at the subsequent Battle of San Jacinto the following April. Since that time, the city has greatly expanded in area. San Antonio is not completely surrounded by independent suburban cities, and under Texas law exercises extraterritorial jurisdiction over most of the surrounding unincorporated land. The city actively pursues an aggressive annexation policy and opposes the creation of other municipalities within its extraterritorial jurisdiction. This is the reason that the city is the seventh largest in the U.S. but its metropolitan area is ranked the 30th-largest metropolitan area. Much of its current land area has only been annexed since 1960. In recent years, the city has annexed several long, narrow corridors along major thoroughfares to facilitate eventual annexation of growth developing along the routes. San Antonio was also a training site of the Buffalo Soldiers, famed African-American cavalry fighters, who helped bring peace to the Western Frontier a century ago.