Mission, Texas, is a city steeped in history. Located in the Rio Grande Valley, it was founded in the early 1900s by a group of Catholic missionaries led by Father Eusebio Kino. Since then, some of the most noteworthy events in Texas history have taken place within a few miles of Mission. Here are seven of the most significant.
1. The Battle of the Alamo: Possibly the most famous battle in Texas history, the Alamo was a pivotal moment in the fight for independence from Mexico. In March 1836, a group of Texan soldiers, including Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie, held the Alamo mission in San Antonio against a Mexican army led by General Santa Anna. Though the Texans were ultimately defeated, the courage they displayed rallying around their flag has become a symbol of Texan resistance to this day. The Alamo is less than 250 miles northwest of Mission.
2. The U.S.-Mexican War: From 1846 to 1848, the United States fought a war with Mexico over territory in the Southwest. The war was fueled by a desire for Manifest Destiny and a dispute over the Rio Grande border. The war ended with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which ceded over 500,000 square miles of land to the United States, including Texas. The treaty was signed just outside of Mexico City, which is about 850 miles from Mission.
3. The Civil War: Though Texas remained part of the Confederacy during the Civil War, the state itself saw little fighting. However, the Texas coast was the site of one of the most consequential naval battles of the war. In 1863, the Union Navy blockaded the port of Sabine Pass, which was guarded by a small Confederate fort. Against all odds, the Confederates held off the Union attack, capturing two gunboats and over 350 prisoners. Sabine Pass is about 450 miles east of Mission.
4. The Mexican Revolution: From 1910 to 1920, Mexico was embroiled in a bloody civil war that saw the overthrow of the dictator Porfirio Diaz and the rise of the revolutionary leader Pancho Villa. Many Mexicans fled to the United States during this time, with some settling in the Rio Grande Valley. The violence spilled over into the United States multiple times, with Villa and his men raiding border towns and even launching an attack on Columbus, New Mexico in 1916. The Mexican Revolution took place throughout the country, with battles and sieges occurring all over.
5. The Bracero Program: During World War II, the United States faced a labor shortage as many men were sent overseas to fight. To address this, the U.S. government established the Bracero Program, which allowed Mexican workers to come to the United States on temporary visas to work in agriculture and other industries. The program lasted from 1942 to 1964 and brought over 4.5 million workers to the country. Many of these workers lived and worked in the Rio Grande Valley, including near Mission.
6. Farmworker Strikes: In the 1960s and 1970s, the United Farm Workers union undertook a series of strikes and boycotts to demand better wages and working conditions for farm laborers, many of whom were Mexican Americans. One of the most significant strikes took place in 1966 in Starr County, just a few miles west of Mission. The strike lasted for several months and saw thousands of workers refuse to work in protest.
7. Hurricane Dolly: In July 2008, Hurricane Dolly made landfall near South Padre Island, just south of Mission. The storm caused widespread damage, particularly in the Rio Grande Valley, where it flooded streets, knocked out power, and destroyed homes. Thousands of people were displaced by the storm, which caused over $1 billion in damage. Although many people were displaced and some lost everything, no one lost their life.
Mission may be a small city, but it is surrounded by history. From battles and revolutions to strikes and storms, the Rio Grande Valley has seen it all. These events serve as reminders of the resilience and determination of the people who have made this special part of Texas their home.
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