Mr. Speaker, the day was July 21, 1821. The heat of the Texas summer sun beat down upon San Antonio de Bexar, the future site of the Battle of the Alamo.
The flag of Imperial Spain billowed in the wind above the roofs of the mission town. This day, however, would be the final day that this flag would fly over Texas.
For nearly three centuries, the Spanish governed Texas. Conquistadores, missionaries, and adventurers made their way to Texas, drawn in by the bountiful opportunities of the seemingly endless land.
However, resistance against Spanish rule began to take root within its overseas colonies. In Texas, filibusters from the United States crossed into Spanish territory attempting to claim land loosely controlled by Spanish royal forces.
Mexico caught the fever of revolution, and by the early 1800’s, certain individuals, including Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, were promoting resistance to aspects of Spanish rule. To make matters worse, Spain was forced to cede Louisiana as a result of the Napoleonic Wars at home to France, who then sold it to President Thomas Jefferson and the United States.
Eventually, the pressure became too great from within, and the Mexican war of Independence began in 1810. Revolutionaries, both Hispanic and Anglos, living across Spanish Mexico took up arms in open revolt against the Spanish occupiers.
In Texas, Jose Bernardo Gutierrez de Lara and Augustus W. Magee captured Nacodoches, La Bahia, and San Antonio, the capital of Spanish Texas at the time, and proclaimed Texas an independent state in 1813. Despite their early success, the group eventually was defeated decisively by Spanish forces, thus keeping Texas under Spain’s control.
However, the days of Spanish rule were numbered, and eventually the independence movement in Mexico under Agustin de lturbide and Vicente Guerrero successfully drove the Spanish from Mexican shores once and for all. Mexico would officially become an independent nation on July 21, 1821.
Having provided resistance against Spanish rule, Texas remained a part of an independent Mexico until the Texas Revolution fifteen years later. Mr. Speaker, we must continue to honor the state’s history.
The Spanish flag is one of the Six Flags over Texas, part of the rich tapestry of the state’s history, and this event represents an important moment in the history of our nation.
And that is just the way it is.