This is the first general history of San Antonio, Texas, the seventh largest city in the nation. Its past is complex and ranges across 300 years, from the community’s origins as a tiny Spanish frontier town to its contemporary status as a vital American mega-city. Site of some of the most violent struggles between warring empires and people—historians believe San Antonio may be the most fought-over city in U.S. history—it is perhaps most celebrated for the iconic 1836 battle of the Alamo. The city is also home to four beautifully restored Spanish missions, which in 2015 UNESCO designated a World Heritage Site and have become integral to San Antonio’s robust tourist economy, along with the fabled Riverwalk. This study weaves together a series of environmental, social, political, and cultural pressures that have shaped life in the Alamo City over the last three centuries. Residents have long fought to protect and utilize water and other resources even as they have struggled to achieve equal rights and build a more open and democratic society. Activists from all sectors of this multicultural city have believed deeply in its promise even though they have had to push hard to secure and expand its potential. Their efforts were every bit as intense in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as they have been in the twenty-first. Written for a general audience, but with a scholarly attention to detail and nuance, San Antonio: A Tricentennial History immerses readers in the city’s fascinating and fraught past.
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