America's Best History Spotlight

On this page we're going to Spotlight the lesser known historic sites and attractions that dot the history landscape across the USA and are worth a visit if you're in their area. And while they may be lesser known, some are very unique, and will be that rare find. You'll be, at times, on the ground floor, or maybe even know something others don't. It'll be fun. Visit them.

Battle of San Jacinto

San Jacinto Battleground, Texas

It would only last eighteen minutes, this battle that would end the Battle for Texas Independence and usher in the Republic of Texas as an independent nation. No, it's not the most famous battle of the war for independence, that would come in defeat at the Alamo the year before. It would come after much bloodshed, some victories, and more determination over six months through battles at BĂ©xar, Goliad, and more. But now, and at the surrender and subsequent treaty several days later by Santa Anna to Sam Houston, those eighteen minutes on April 21, 1836 would prove decisive. Image above: Painting of the Battle of San Jacinto, 1895, Henry McArdle, Texas State Senate. Photo courtesy Carol M . Highsmith, 2014, Library of Congress.

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Info, What's There Now, History Nearby

San Jacinto

San Jacinto Battleground, Texas

The area around today's Houston and Galveston Bay was sparsely populated in 1835 when the battle for Texas independence began, with small to large ranches conducted by citizens of Mexico. However, by that year, the citizens had become tired of the dictatorial regime of Mexican President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. But his six thousand man army was powerful, taking the Alamo in March and recovering the bastion at Goliad later that month. But, for various tactical reasons that would prove his downfall, Santa Anna divided his troops, and with a portion of them resting in the groves of trees of San Jacinto, Texas General Sam Houston saw his opportunity. What those eighteen minutes would not gain.

Today, you can visit the site of his spectacularly quick victory. There's trails to walk, driving tours to drive, and tours of the monument, grounds, and museum. And yes, years later they'd name the area after Sam, today's Houston, Texas.

Image above: Reenactors of the Mexican army advancing at the Battle of San Jacinto, 2014, Carol M. Highsmith. Courtesy Library of Congress. Below: Painting of the surrender of Santa Anna, 1886, William Henry Huddle, Texas State Capitol. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons.

Surrender of Santa Anna

Where Is It

It's in Houston, well, east of downtown and close enough in La Porte. Address is 3523 Independence Parkway South, La Porte, TX 77571. That's basically east off Interstate 10.

What is There Now

There are one thousand two hundred acres of the San Jacinto Battleground to explore, including a driving tour, marsh walking path, and tours of the San Jacinto Monument. There are four picnic areas, too. The Museum at the monument has exhibits, orientation, and more. You can also fish the Buffalo Bayou.

There's lots of tours, including bike tours, if you're there on the right day. The best day is likely San Jacinto Day, on or near the anniversary of the date of the battle, when the area is usually filled with reenactors and living history representing both sides of the conflict.

When Open and How Much

The battlefield itself is free. Tours of the San Jacinto Monument does require a fee, $12 for adults, $6 children 11 and under. The park is open year round, with exceptions for Major Holidays. The Monument and Museum are open Friday through Sunday. Check the park website for any changes in that schedule before you go.

Fees subject to change.

San Jacinto Battleground

History Nearby

You're in the Houston metroplex, so there's plenty to do about local history, sports, and more, including the nearby San Jacinto Museum of History and the Battleship Texas. A bit more drive and you're near Spindletop, home to the first Texas gusher, the nature of Big Thicket National Preserve, and if you wish to stay more in tune with the battles for Texas Independence, further away and you've got the sites of the Alamo and the Battle of Goliad.

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