Graphic by Tristan Ipock, The Paisano

Fiesta is a week-long event that engulfs San Antonio and its citizens, but what exactly are we celebrating?

The timeline begins with the Texas Revolution, which includes the Battle of the Alamo and Battle of San Jacinto; then, the Republic of Texas; then, the Mexican-American War; and ending with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo to present day Fiesta.

Here is an insight to each historical event:

The Texas Revolution began when colonists, mostly from the United States, in the Mexican jurisdiction of Texas rebelled against the Mexican government. After a decade of clashes between the Mexican government and the increasing population of American settlers in Texas, hostilities erupted, and the Texas Revolution began in October 1835.

The Battle of the Alamo was a 13-day siege; the siege ended when Mexican troops under President General Santa Anna launched an assault on the Alamo Mission near San Antonio de Béxar (modern-day San Antonio), killing all of the Texian defenders. Fueled by a desire for revenge, the Texians defeated the Mexican Army at the Battle of San Jacinto, ending the revolution.

The Battle of San Jacinto, fought in present-day Harris County, Tex. was the final battle of the Texas Revolution. Led by General Sam Houston, the Texian Army ambushed and defeated General Santa Anna’s Mexican army in a fight that lasted just 18 minutes.

At the end of the Texas Revolution, Texas became an independent country known as the Republic of Texas which existed from March 2, 1836 to Feb. 19, 1846.

The Mexican-American War started when the Republic of Texas wanted to be annexed by the U.S., but Mexico did not recognize the Republic of Texas as a sovereign country; the land was still Mexico and Texas did not have the right to sell the land. The U.S. said, “okay, that’s cool, we’ll buy the land from you instead,” but Mexico said, “no way Jose.” The war started when Americans moved into the disputed territory and Mexico killed/captured all of them. Mexico officially declared war on America on July 7, 1846.

Mexico could not defend itself against American forces. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, signed on Feb. 2, 1848 ended the war. The treaty gave the U.S. undisputed control of Texas, established the U.S.-Mexican border of the Rio Grande and ceded to the United States’ present-day states of California, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, most of Arizona and Colorado, parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Wyoming. In return, Mexico received $15 million ($415 million today)—less than half the amount the U.S. had attempted to offer Mexico for the land before the opening of hostilities.

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo stated the new U.S. and Mexico border as well as which land was acquired. Articles VIII and IX of the treaty ensured existing property rights of Mexican citizens living in the transferred territories. Despite the treaty, the property rights of Mexican citizens were often not honored by the U.S.

Here is how fiesta-sa.org describes the history of Fiesta:

“By 1890, San Antonio, TX, was a thriving trade center with a population of 38,000. In 1891, a group of citizens decided to honor the heroes of the Alamo and Battle of San Jacinto with a Battle of Flowers.”

It is disturbing how little information the city of San Antonio is offering to its partygoers. Most Fiesta participants don’t know the history of what they are celebrating. In actuality, the so-called “heroes” of  the Alamo sparked a series of events that would eventually drive Mexican families off the land they rightfully owned. If more awareness of the city’s hypocritical history was raised, San Antonio wouldn’t be painted with papel picado for Fiesta.

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