Updated:
Original:
Year
1836
Month Day
March 06

The Battle of the Alamo comes to an end

On this day in 1836, after 13 days of intermittent fighting, the Battle of the Alamo comes to a gruesome end, capping off a pivotal moment in the Texas Revolution. Mexican forces were victorious in recapturing the fort, and nearly all of the roughly 200 Texan defenders—including legendary frontiersman Davy Crockett—died.

Thirteen days earlier, on February 23, Mexican General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna ordered a siege of the Alamo Mission (near present-day San Antonio), which had been occupied by rebel Texas forces since December. An army of over 1,000 Mexican soldiers began descending on the makeshift fort and setting up artillery.

Over the next two weeks, the two armies traded gunfire, but there were few casualties. Despite being clearly outnumbered, Alamo co-commanders James Bowie and William Travis insisted on remaining in place. The volunteer soldiers defending the Alamo included doctors and farmers, as well as Tennessee frontiersman and Congressman Davy Crockett, who fought in the Tennessee militia.

The final attack came before dawn on March 6. Mexican troops breached the north wall and flooded into the compound, awakening many of the Texans inside. The fighting lasted 90 minutes, some of it hand-to-hand combat. Bowie and Travis were killed, as was Crockett, although reports differ as to exactly how and when. Several Texans reportedly surrendered, but Santa Anna ordered all prisoners be executed. Only a handful survived, mostly women and children. Historians estimate several hundred Mexicans died.

After the battle, the Mexican army marched east. Meanwhile, commander of the Texas forces, Sam Houston had been building and developing his army in Harris County. “Remember the Alamo!” became their rallying cry as an urgent reminder to avenge their earlier defeat. On April 21, Texas and Mexico fought again at the Battle of San Jacinto. Texas was victorious this time, and won independence from Mexico, bringing the Texas Revolution to an end.

The defense of the Alamo remains a symbol of resistance to oppression and revolutionary spirit. The battle has been immortalized in several TV series and films, including 1960’s The Alamo, starring John Wayne as Davy Crockett. 

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us!

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Kohl elected West German chancellor

Helmut Kohl, the interim chancellor of West Germany since the fall of Helmut Schmidt’s Social Democrat government in 1982, is elected German chancellor as his Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party is voted back into power. Elected as Rhine-Palatinate state premier in 1969, Kohl ...read more

Supreme Court rules in Dred Scott case

The U.S. Supreme Court hands down its decision on Sanford v. Dred Scott, a case that intensified national divisions over the issue of slavery. In 1834, Dred Scott, a slave, had been taken to Illinois, a free state, and then Wisconsin territory, where the Missouri Compromise of ...read more

Michelangelo born

Michelangelo Buonarroti, the greatest of the Italian Renaissance artists, is born in the small village of Caprese on March 6, 1475. The son of a government administrator, he grew up in Florence, a center of the early Renaissance movement, and became an artist’s apprentice at age ...read more

Bayer patents aspirin

Now the most common drug in household medicine cabinets, acetylsalicylic acid was originally made from a chemical found in the bark of willow trees. In its primitive form, the active ingredient, salicin, was used for centuries in folk medicine, beginning in ancient Greece when ...read more

Real Madrid founded

On this day in 1902, the Madrid Foot Ball Club is founded by a group of fans in Madrid, Spain. Later known as Real Madrid, the club would become the most successful European football (soccer) franchise of the 20th century. With its trademark blue-and-white uniforms (originally ...read more

Monroe signs the Missouri Compromise

On this day in 1820, President James Monroe signs the Missouri Compromise, also known as the Compromise Bill of 1820, into law. The bill attempted to equalize the number of slave-holding states and free states in the country, allowing Missouri into the Union as a slave state ...read more

Georgia O’Keeffe dies

Georgia O’Keeffe, the artist who gained worldwide fame for her austere minimalist paintings of the American southwest, dies in Santa Fe at the age of 98. Born in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, in 1887, O’Keeffe grew up in Virginia and first studied painting at the Art Institute of ...read more

Georgi Malenkov succeeds Stalin

Just one day after the death of long-time Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, Georgi Malenkov is named premier and first secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Malenkov’s tenure was extremely brief, and within a matter of weeks he was pushed aside by Nikita Khrushchev. ...read more

Dred Scott decision

On this day in 1857, the United States Supreme Court issues a decision in the Dred Scott case, affirming the right of slave owners to take their slaves into the Western territories, therebynegating the doctrine of popular sovereignty and severely undermining the platform of the ...read more