This weekend was the anniversary of the Texas Revolution in 1835. This armed conflict is also known as the “Texas War of Independence.” It was a brief dispute in which the Republic of Texas rebelled against the government of Mexico. The notorious “Gonzales Flag” was born out of this conflict and inspired many reimagined versions across time and space, as we have discussed before on this blog. The war concluded in April of 1836 with Texan independence.
While the rebellion is stated to have occurred between 1835-1836, conflict occurred between the people of Texas and the government of Mexico stretching back as early as 1826. The tensions which led to the conflict can also be said to have begun in between the years of 1815-1821 as Spanish rule of the area was ending and American settlers were moving onto the land. In fact, the Battle of Velasco on June 26, 1832 is considered to have been a major Texan victory during the Texas War of Independence. In an attempt to stop further American immigration, the Mexican government sent troops and officials to enforce tariffs meant to stop more migration. This culminated in a pitched battle where the Mexican Army was forced to retreat from many of its garrisons in Texas, marking a major victory for the Texan rebels in the war.
Even though earlier battles occurred, many sources report the war officially began with the Battle of Gonzalez in 1835. This is perhaps due to the iconic nature of that particular confrontation. After Santa Anna was declared leader of Mexico, he eventually decided on a policy of confiscating weapons to try and minimize the risk of rebellion, so perhaps it is the great irony of that policy which motivates 1835 as the start date. No matter the reason, the Battle of Gonzalez is famous for the dramatic manner in which the rebels refused to relinquish the cannon they had been requisitioned by the Mexican government. The ensuing events are historic in their own right.
When the Mexican government sent forces to retrieve the weapon, which they did in fact lend out to the city of Gonzales, a long, drawn out debate occurred in which the rebels sought to buy time to prepare for the inevitable attempt to confiscate the cannon by force. After all, the Texans had no intention of giving it up, as it was necessary for the town’s defense; and the rebels were fairly certain the Mexican government was not trying to retrieve a single cannon out of logistical need. They knew the Mexican government was attempting gun confiscation, and they prepared accordingly. The bombastic and epic manner in which they did so, however; with the timeless flag and the reported declaration: “come and take it,” the October 2, 1835 official start date of the Texas Revolution is inspiring to peoples across the world to this day of the importance of noncompliance with gun confiscation. The Battle of Gonzales will also no doubt live on across time with the many flags it has inspired across years.
Have you ever visited the state of Texas or seen a Gonzales Flag before? Also, do you think the official start date of the Texas Revolution should be pushed back to account for earlier battles? Why do you think the Battle of Gonzales is recognized as the official start of the rebellion?
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