Few incidents in US history so directly confront our cultural identity as does the Texas War of Independence and its legendary Battle of the Alamo. For more than a century and a half, the fort's seige has been a part of american mythology. Its 187 martyred defenders, among them William Barret Travis, Jim Bowie, and David Crokett, have been immortalized as American heroes despite the fact that they openly defended slavery, that they were usurping the land of others, and that they were not even American citizens. Technically they were Mexican citizens rebelling to found the Republic of Texas.
Most of the Anglo settlers had been in the province less than 2 yrs. many were adventurers, vagabonds, and land speculators. Travis had abandoned his family and escaped to Texas after killing a man in the United States. Bowie, a slave trader, had wandered into the Mexican province looking to make a fortune in mining. Sam Houston, commander of these victorious rebels, and Crokett were both veterans of Andrew Jackson's grisly victory over the Creeks at Horseshoe Bend, and they shared Old Hickory's racist expansionist views toward Latin America.