The history of San Antonio is fascinating and complex. Here, we highlight some of the people and developments that have shaped the Alamo City into what it is today
1718: The Founding of San Antonio
The city’s official operation begins in May of 1718 with the nearly simultaneous founding of military and mission establishments, according to Bruce Shakelford, one of the primary curators behind the Witte’s tricentennial Confluence and Culture exhibition. On May 1, 1718, the Spanish priest Father Antonio Olivares founds Mission San Antonio de Valero, named after St. Anthony of Padua. A few days later on May 5, San Antonio de Béxar Presidio, a military garrison, is established on the west side of the river. Within a few decades, four additional missions are planted near tribes along the river with the intent of converting indigenous people to Catholicism and Spanish ways of life, says Shakelford. Mission San José is founded in 1720 and Mission Concepción, Mission San Juan Capistrano and Mission San Francisco de la Espada are all established in San Antonio in 1731 after being relocated from other areas.