San Antonio is one of the oldest and most historic cities in Texas. Named after Saint Anthony of Padua in 1691 when explorers from Spain came upon a Native American settlement on the river, the city has been under the rule of four different nations since its founding as a mission under the Spanish. Since the city's first building the area has been under the control of Spain, Mexico, the Republic of Texas and the United States. The first real colonists to the city were 53 Spanish settlers that arrived from the Canary Islands in 1731.
San Antonio would play a critical role in the state of Texas's fight for independence against Mexico's new dictator, President Santa Anna. After the 'Battle of the Alamo' where all the defenders were killed after a nearly two week siege, the Texian Army rallied around the cry “Remember the Alamo” and captured Santa Anna and their freedom a little over a month later at the 'Battle of San Jacinto'. The city and the state of Texas would be annexed by the USA in 1845 sparking yet another war with Mexico.
The city's Military past hasn't been forgotten. The city is home to three military establishments with three more on its outskirts. Inside the city US Army Fort Sam Houston sits just northeast of downtown and is almost just as historic as the city itself being founded in 1845. On the opposite end of the city to the southwest sits Lackland Air Force Base home to a variety of historic aircraft on its parade grounds. Brooks City-Base lies to the southwest and is currently being developed from one of the nation's oldest Air Force bases into a center of technology, science and business in a joint program by all levels of government. Camp Bullis, Camp Stanley and Randolph Air Force Base lie on the outskirts of San Antonio.
Today San Antonio exists as the seventh largest city in the United States and the second largest in Texas. The city has many great landmarks and destinations for tourist including the famous Alamo, the site of the battle that is credited with turning the tide of Texan Independence. Then there is the River Walk, a gorgeous two and a half mile winding stretch of the San Antonio River whose banks are riddled with shops, restaurants and theaters carved right through downtown. Six Flags Fiesta, Sea World San Antonio, the San Antonio Botanical Gardens and the Missions National Historical Park are other great destinations for tourist visiting this historic city.