San Antonio's Hispanic Heritage
Not Just a History Lesson - a Living Legacy
Every year, cultural events bring together locals and visitors to revel in the city’s multicultural heritage. Our rich heritage has and continues to build a strong sense of community and pride among locals and visitors alike, reminding us of the importance of preserving and sharing our cultural roots.
From the rhythms of mariachi bands to the vibrant colors of traditional dress, from our incredible events and architecture to our cuisine and art, San Antonio’s Hispanic heritage is a treasure that connects the past with the present and invites everyone to join in the celebration as the influence of our Hispanic heritage touches every part of the Alamo city.
Hispanic Heritage Month shines the spotlight on the culture, achievements, contributions, and more of the Hispanic community. Dieciséis de Septiembre, or “September 16th,” Mexican Independence Day and Fiestas Patrias all coincide with Hispanic Heritage Month.
Over 300 years ago, Spain staked its claim in the New World and sent missionaries to colonize the native peoples. Then, it was a Coahuiltecan Indian village. Today, it is San Antonio.
The early Spanish settlements in Texas, including San Antonio, were a series of missions and military outposts (presidios). They founded Mission San Antonio de Valero (Alamo) and a presidio to protect it at the headwaters of the San Antonio River in 1718, followed by four other missions.
In 1731, the town of San Fernando de Bexar was founded when Spain sent settlers from the Canary Islands to establish a civilian presence. By 1780, San Antonio was the capital of the Spanish province of Texas and had a population of about 2,000, a mixture of Spanish Mexicans, Native Americans from the missions, African Americans and Canary Islanders. In 1821, Mexico, including San Antonio, achieved independence from Spain. And in 1836, Texas fought for and won independence from Mexico.
Today, people of Mexican origin make up 91.3 percent of San Antonio’s Hispanic Tejano population, which totals more than 54 percent of the total metro area population.