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San Antonio History

San Antonio's river (of the same name) has been a focal point in its history, from the days when Native Americans called the area Yanaguana (translated as “clear waters” or “refreshing waters”) to the Spanish explorers and missionaries who renamed it San Antonio, in honor of Saint Anthony of Padua, Italy. Built in 1724, Mission San Antonio de Valero (later known as the Alamo) was the first of five missions built along the river by the Spaniards and was the site of the historic, but unsuccessful, battle for Texas independence in 1836. The mid-1800s saw an influx of Europeans, whose influence is still felt in the city, particularly in what is now known as the King William Historical District. After the civil war, ranching and cattle-raising brought economic prosperity to the area and San Antonio was where the legendary Chisholm Trail began. As San Antonio entered the 20th century, and the importance of the river was once again recognized by the city fathers, it reclaimed its past and has made sure to preserve and protect it—and share it with the nearly 25 million visitors who come to the city annually.
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