San Antonio, Texas
The Payaya people lived close to the San Antonio River Valley in the vicinity of San Pedro Springs at the time of European contact. They gave the area the name Yanaguana, which means “refreshing waters”. On June 13, the feast day of St. Anthony of Padua, a group of Spanish explorers and missionaries discovered the river and the Payaya village. In his honor, they gave the area and river the name “San Antonio”. Before there was any Spanish settlement, years passed. When Father Antonio de Olivares arrived in 1709, he was resolved to establish a mission and a community for people. In order to prevent any further French advance into the region, the viceroy officially approved the creation of a combined mission and presidio in late 1716. The Geography of San Antonio plays a significant role in shaping its economy and culture.
Juan Leal Goraz Jr. played a key role in the Spanish-Mexican settlement of the Southwest during the course of the ensuing century. He claimed 153,766 acres, or about 100,000 square miles, as Spanish territory, over which he exercised some degree of rule for nearly three decades. Leal Goraz’s capital was set as San Antonio. It reflected the encroachment of Mexico in the region. He led exploration and the establishment of Spanish colonial bases up to San Francisco, California, with the help of his powerful military forces. Leal Goraz Jr.’s army was forced back into the present-day borders of Mexico by widespread insolvency; there, they became embroiled in internal strife and disputes with surrounding organizations.
The Texian Army won a series of fights to drive Mexican troops from the American-dominated settlement areas east of San Antonio. Ben Milam led Texan forces in the Battle of Bexar, which took place in December 1835, as they overcame forces led by General Martin Perfecto de Cos, Santa Anna’s brother-in-law, to take San Antonio. Santa Anna invaded San Antonio in the spring of 1836. James C. Neill oversaw a volunteer group that occupied and defended the abandoned Alamo mission.
After he left, the old mission was left under the joint direction of William Barrett Travis and James Bowie. 1836’s Battle of the Alamo lasted from February 23 to March 6 in San Antonio.
Smaller neighboring communities like New Braunfels, Castroville, Boerne, Comfort, Fredericksburg, and Bulverde—all located distant from San Antonio—were developed by German immigrants. As a result of the Germans’ subsequent attraction to San Antonio for employment, numerous streets and buildings still go by names like Wurzbach, Huebner, Jones Maltsberger, and Wiederstein. Germans had a significant influence on San Antonio; it is estimated that at least one-third of the city’s population was of German descent in the early 1900s. Up to the fifth or sixth generation, many German immigrant ancestors in San Antonio were fluent in Texas German. Texas German is a kind of German that emerged after Germany separated from the German language.
The streets in the city’s central business district were enlarged at the turn of the 20th century to make room for street vehicles and contemporary traffic. Many of the older historic structures were then destroyed during this remodeling effort.
San Antonio has had consistent population growth since the late twentieth century. From little over 650,000 in the 1970 census to an estimated 1.2 million in 2005, the city’s population more than quadrupled in 35 years thanks to both population growth and land annexation (the latter of which significantly increased the city’s physical size). San Antonio’s population was 55.6% Hispanic or Latino, 7.0% Black or African American, and 36.2% non-Hispanic white in 1990, according to the United States Census Bureau.
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