The Alamo © Daniel Schwen
The Alamo has assumed mythological significance in American culture. Originally built as a mission by Spanish priests in 1724, the missionaries later gave the land to resident converts to continue their farming. But in the early 19th century, the Spanish military stationed cavalry at the old mission station. The men began calling the mission the Alamo, a reference to their hometown in Spain, and during the following wars over Texas, the Alamo played a very important role. Davy Crocket and his small party held out for 13 days against a 2,500-strong Mexican army before finally being overrun. While the actual Alamo is smaller than most visitors expect, its immense history and gravitas means it is seen as the cradle of Texan Liberty.