Commemorative Week Marks the 300th Birthday of San Antonio

On May 1, the Spanish colonial government in what was then the Province of Coahuila, fearful of French designs on the territory that was to become Texas, authorized the creation of the first civilian settlement, and event which is recognized as the founding of the City of San Antonio, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

"300 years ago, May 1, 1718, the very first mission, San Antonio de Valero, was founded," said Laura Mayes of the San Antonio Tricentennial Commission.

Several events are planned for today through Saturday, which marks another significant milestone.

"Four days later, a garrison was built to protect that Mission, so we take the whole week to celebrate," she said.

Commemorative Week activities begin today all over the city, with a host of events including art shows, interfaith services, and the unveiling of the 'New Riverwalk,' the San Pedro Creek renovation project on the west end of downtown.

Today, there will be a re-enactment of the grant of land at the headwaters of San Pedro creek, an area now on the northwest edge of downtown, for the creation of the Mission San Antonio de Valero, named in honor of the Marquess de Valero, the Spanish Viceroy.  

After two moves, one caused by a flood and another by a hurricane, the Mission was recreated north of the little village of La Villita and later became known as the Alamo.

On May 5, Alarcon created the Presidio San Antonio de Bejar, and settled some thirty civilian families, creating the first permanent civilian settlement.

Later that summer, the first baptism was recorded at the Mission, and by 1730, when the Canary Island settlement began and construction began on San Fernando Cathedral, San Antonio was the largest community in what became the American Southwest.

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