Texans Observe San Jacinto Day

April 21 is San Jacinto Day in Texas, commemorating the anniversary of the 
Battle of San Jacinto. On this date in 1836, General Sam Houston and the Texas Army 
defeated Santa Anna’s Mexican troops, winning independence for Texas in a battle that 
lasted only eighteen minutes. Though the battle was very short, the course was history 
was changed forever. San Jacinto Day was made a legal state holiday by the 14th Texas 
Legislature in 1874.

San Jacinto Day is also a day to honor all who fought for the independence of 
Texas. They were "Texians"-- native citizens and immigrant citizens; speaking Spanish, 
English, German, and more-- all with a common purpose of self-preservation and liberty. 
It was the Battle of San Jacinto that assured their success.

Many factors led to the battle. Four days after independence was declared on 
March 2, the Alamo fell. When the news reached Sam Houston, he quickly hurried to 
Gonzales to take command of the Texas troops. The Texan Army was outnumbered and 
no match for the well trained soldiers of Santa Anna's army. Marching eastward and 
away from the advancing enemy troops, they finally stopped at a site near the juncture of 
the San Jacinto River and Buffalo Bayou.

On the afternoon of Thursday, April 21, 1836, the Texas army of only 750 men 
advanced on Santa Anna and his army of 1,500 soldiers. To shouts of "Remember the 
Alamo" and "Remember Goliad" they attacked, and after just eighteen minutes, the battle 
for Texas was won. Texans were free and embarked on their path as a new nation, the 
Republic of Texas. For almost ten years, Texans remained an independent country until 
becoming the twenty-eighth state of the United States of America.

The significance of the battle led to not only the annexation of Texas, but also to 
the Mexican War, resulting in the U.S. acquisition of the additional states of New 
Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, and parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, 
and Wyoming. Approximately one million square miles of territory, or almost one third 
of the present day U.S. nation, changed sovereignty because of the victory at San Jacinto.

Celebrations in honor of the San Jacinto have been held every year since the 
battle. The San Jacinto Monument, a memorial to honor all who fought for 
independence of Texas, stands at the site of the battle and is the tallest column monument 
in the world at 567 feet. Events are held annually at the San Jacinto Battleground State 
Park, which features a re-enactment of the battle and a festival highlighting Texas 
history. For more information about the Park and activities, visit the website at 
www.tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks/san-jacinto-battleground or phone (281) 479-2421.