Mar 23, 2013 - Countries, Museums, Personal, Texas, Travel, USA    Comments Off on Mission San José and Mission Concepción, San Antonio

Mission San José and Mission Concepción, San Antonio

The gals I had lunch with on Thursday strongly suggested I start my tour of the area with a visit to at least one of the missions near San Antonio so as to get a better idea of the historical context of the Alamo.

I was going going to go out today, having woken up to super overcast and coldish conditions, but the sky was clear by noon and I was itching to get outside.

I started with Mission San José because it is the best restored and it has a visitors’ centre, guided tours, and a movie (all free, including parking!). From there, I went to Mission Concepción because it is the best preserved. There were a few others to see, but I did not feel compelled to tour them.

Briefly, the Missions were established by Spanish Franciscan friars in the 18th century as settlements to teach the south Texas Indians how to be Spanish citizens. This was how Spain established its presence in the area. If it couldn’t populate it with real Spaniards, then it would create new Spaniards.

The Indian tribes were being attacked from the north by Comanches, Apaches, and other plains nations who had horses. From the south came a wave of European illnesses. The south Texans accepted their bitter fate and that sometimes the only way to survive is to surrender. They went to live in the missions and learned the Spanish way of life, the language, and the religion, Roman Catholicism.

The missions were eventually secularized and turned over to their inhabitants. Some fell to the wayside and others, like the Alamo, were used by the military.

The architecture of the missions was exquisite! I’m glad I watched the movie, Gente de razon (literally, people of reason, but actually human beings), which talks about the fate of the Indians and how they live on as the Tejano people.

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