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San Antonio is the site of the most popular tourist destination in Texas, the Alamo. Originally intended as a Catholic mission, the Alamo was more military garrison than missionary outpost by the time of the famous 1836 battle.

One hundred eighty-nine defenders from the newly-formed Republic of Texas fought against 1,800 Mexican soldiers in a brave but ultimately unsuccessful defense. However, the fortress became a rallying point for the Republic of Texas. Cries of "Remember the Alamo" led many to join the Texan army. Texas went on to defeat the Mexican forces later that year in the Battle of San Jacinto.