San Antonio will celebrate its 300th anniversary in 2018. The San Antonio Tricentennial Celebration is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will be commemorated with a year-long calendar of events, activities and innovative initiatives that will carry San Antonio into the next 300 years

The San Antonio Tricentennial

  • Creates a positive and/or lasting impact
  • Showcases our diversity, inclusiveness, and authenticity
  • Defines the Tricentennial identity
  • Identifies financial integrity, viability, timeliness, and transparency
  • Educates and celebrates our shared history and furthers our legacy

DOWNLOAD: SA300 Economic Impact Study

History of San Antonio

We were once a remote encampment on a gentle river. An indigenous tribe, the Payaya people, called this welcoming area Yanaguana, which meant “the Clear Water” in their native language.

On the 13th of June of 1691, Domingo Terán de los Ríos, first governor of the new Spanish province of Tejas, and Fray Damián Mazanet (or Massanet) led an expedition through this area and it being the feast day of St. Anthony of Padua, they gave it the Spanish name “San Antonio de Padua.”

Twenty-five years passed before the Viceroy, Balthasar Manuel de Zúñiga y Guzmán Sotomayor y Sarmiento,, called for a permanent settlement along the San Antonio River to serve as a halfway point between northern Mexico and Spanish settlement areas in eastern Texas. Two years later, on the 1st of May of 1718 Martín de Alarcón, Governor of Coahuila y Tejas, and Fray Antonio de San Buenaventura y Olivares established Mission San Antonio de Valero (later known as the Alamo) at its original site and four days later on the 5th of May of 1718, the Presidio San Antonio de Béjar, a garrison to protect the new mission. A few civilian settlers and families of soldiers settled in the area called the Villa de Béjar. The town would soon begin to grow as four new missions were established nearby and with the arrival of 55 Canary Islanders on the 9th of March of 1731. By order of the King of Spain, San Antonio was officially and legally declared a municipality known as Villa de San Fernando de Béjar. By 1773, San Antonio was the capital of Spanish Texas. In the years that followed, pioneering settlers from varied cultures and regions streamed into San Antonio, all looking for a better life for themselves and their families. Meanwhile, Mexico waged a prolonged war of independence and finally won its freedom from Spain in 1821.

As the Spanish Empire declined, the US Empire entered an age of expansion. Texas witnessed growing dissent and unhappiness with Mexico’s governance of Texas. Some demanded independence and the Texas Revolution began leading to the Battle of the Alamo in 1836. After the defeat of Mexican forces at San Jacinto, the new Republic of Texas established Bexar County in December of 1836 and in January of 1837, San Antonio was chartered as the county seat. After a period of Texan independence, on December 19, 1845, Texas became the 28th state to enter the Union.

Information reviewed by: UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures


Learn more about the history of San Antonio and Bexar County

San Pedro Creek History