The Alamo Mission in San Antonio, commonly called the Alamo, and originally known as the Mission San Antonio de Valero, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in San Antonio, Texas. Founded in the eighteenth century as a Roman Catholic mission and fortress compound, it was the site of the Battle of the Alamo in 1836. The Alamo is now a museum in the Alamo Plaza Historic District.
The compound was one of the Early Spanish missions in Texas, built for the education of area Native Americans after their conversion to Christianity. In 1793, the mission was secularized and then abandoned. Ten years later, it became a fortress housing a military unit, the Second Flying Company of San Carlos de Parras, who likely gave the mission the name Alamo. During the Texas Revolution, Mexican General Martin Perfecto de Cos surrendered the fort to the Texian Army in December 1835, following the siege of Bexar. A relatively small number of Texian soldiers then occupied the compound for several months. They were soundly defeated at the Battle of the Alamo on March 6, 1836. When the Mexican army retreated from Texas several months later, they tore down many of the Alamo walls and burned some of the buildings.
For the next five years, the Alamo was periodically used to garrison soldiers, both Texian and Mexican, but was ultimately abandoned. In 1849, several years after Texas was annexed to the United States, the U.S. Army began renting the facility for use as a quartermaster's depot. The U.S. Army abandoned the mission in 1876 after nearby Fort Sam Houston was established. The Alamo chapel was sold to the state of Texas, which conducted occasional tours but made no effort to restore it. The remaining buildings were sold to a mercantile company which operated them as a wholesale grocery store.
After forming in 1892, the Daughters of the Republic of Texas (DRT) began trying to preserve the Alamo. In 1905, Adina Emilia De Zavala and Clara Driscoll successfully convinced the state legislature to purchase the remaining buildings and to name the DRT as the permanent custodian of the site. Over the next century, periodic attempts were made to transfer control of the Alamo from the DRT. In early 2015, Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush officially removed control of the Alamo to the Texas General Land Office. On July 5, 2015, the Alamo was designated a UN World Heritage site.
As of 2002, the Alamo welcomed over four million visitors each year, making it one of the most popular historic sites in the United States. Visitors may tour the chapel, as well as the Long Barracks, which contains a small museum with paintings, weapons, and other artifacts from the era of the Texas Revolution. Additional artifacts are displayed in another complex building, alongside a large diorama that recreates the compound as it existed in 1836. A large mural, known as the Wall of History, portrays the history of the Alamo complex from its mission days to modern times.
The site has an annual operating budget of $6 million, primarily funded through sales in the gift store. A 2011 law signed by the governor of Texas placed the Alamo under the care and leadership of the Texas General Land Office. On March 12, 2015, Land Commissioner George P. Bush announced that his office is taking charge of the daily operations of the Alamo from the Daughters of the Republic of Texas.