Texas Independence Day is celebrated in Texas every 2 March on the anniversary of the day Texas declared itself a sovereign nation no longer a territorial possession of Mexico.
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After U.S. immigration, conflicts over slavery, and the centralized, oppressive policies of Mexican president Santa Ana had pushed Texans to the limits, 60 delegates from all over the territory finally met in Washington, Texas, in 1836 and adopted (without debate) a declaration of independence that was very much modeled on the U.S. Declaration of Independence.
Soon, Santa Ana himself arrived in Texas at the head of an army on a mission to force Texas back into submission. The first battle was the siege of the Alamo, in San Antonio, where 1,500 Mexicans crushed a small garrison of defenders in an old mission-fort after a 13-day siege. While the battle was lost, the time won helped the Texas army further north better prepare for the war. Later, Santa Ana was captured at the Battle of San Jacinto and forced to withdraw his forces from Texas, thus ending the war.
Texas state workers have the option of taking Texas Independence Day off, and Texas students often study the Texas Declaration of Independence this time of year. Tourists to Texas find the following things to do:
- Attend the festivals, reenactments, concerts, kids’ events, and chili cook offs held in many municipalities throughout the state. There are often story sessions for young children on how Texas gained its independence.
- Visit the Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site where Texas declared its independence. On March 5th and 6th, there are official celebrations on-site.
- Tour the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas’ number one tourist draw. The anniversary of the fall of the Alamo is this time of year, on March 6th. The building is enclosed for protection, but you can see the fort, chapel, museum, and Davy Crocket’s knife that he used in the battle.
- Also in San Antonio, visit the Casa Navarro State Historic Site, the home of Jose Navarro who was a leader in the Texas independence movement and a “Tejano” (of Mexican descent).
- See the battleground where Texas secured its independence at the San Jacinto Battleground in La Porte. There is a 570-foot-high monument. Rumor has it that the cry, “Remember the Alamo! Remember Goliad!,” can still be heard echoing through the air.
Texas has a unique history and a state-level patriotism unmatched by the other 49 states, and touring Texas on Texas Independence Day gives you a taste of Texans’ patriotic fervor.