On this day in 1836, which happened to be Palm Sunday, at least 342 Texans were executed by firing squad at Goliad. The Texans considered these men prisoners of war, whereas General Santa Anna thought them "perfidious foreigners." The Mexican dictator had decreed that all Texans in arms against the Mexican government were to be treated as traitors, not soldiers. The men were led out of town and shot at point- blank range. Those not killed by the first volley were hunted down and killed by gunfire, bayonet, or lance. The bodies were left unburied. The incident, which became known among Anglo-Texans as the Goliad Massacre, joined the Alamo as a rallying cry for Texas independence.
On this day in 1925, Longhorn track coach Clyde Littlefield inaugurated the Texas Relays at the Texas Memorial Stadium, drawing to Austin some of the best college track athletes and even three Olympians. The stadium, now the Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, has been the home of University of Texas football and track teams since 1924. In that year Henry Jacob Lutcher Stark, chairman of the UT Board of Regents, and L. Theo Bellmont, athletic director, led a fundraising drive to erect the stadium on the eastern edge of campus. An estimated 10,000 students, alumni, and friends of the university gave money to build the 27,000-seat facility, which was designed by architect Herbert M. Greene of Dallas. The stadium was dedicated to Texans who had served in World War I. Renovated and expanded a number of times over the years, the stadium most recently went through a major renovation completed in 1999. Stadium seating capacity in 2004 was 80,082.
On this day in 1817, Antonio María Martínez, colonel of the infantry regiment of Zamora, became the last governor of Spanish Texas. He was born in Andújar, Spain. He entered military service in 1785 and had a distinguished career, winning the Cross of Northern Europe and the Cross of Germany on European battlefields. He assumed the political and military governorship of a troubled Texas in 1817. While Spanish troops had defeated a series of revolts and invasions, Martínez complained that the king's soldiers had "drained the resources of the country, and laid their hands on everything that could sustain human life" in the process. By the summer of 1821 the Spanish regime was faced with disaster. Agustín de Iturbide was in possession of Mexico, and Martínez, at the request of the Baron de Bastrop, approved Moses Austin's petition for permission to bring 300 settlers into Texas. On July 18, 1821, Martínez was forced to issue orders requiring the oath of allegiance to Iturbide. After learning that José Félix Trespalacios had been appointed to succeed him, he surrendered his office peacefully on August 17, 1822. Martínez returned to Mexico City and died there in November 1823.