The Mexican constitution of 1824 gave the people of Texas rights similar to those enjoyed at the time by the citizens of the United States, but every new Mexican government attempted to increase control over Texas. To call attention to this, Texans removed the coat of arms from the center of a Mexican flag, and replaced it with the date of the constitution. It was this banner that flew from the walls of the Alamo.

For 13 days, less than 200 Texans held off an army of more than 5,000 men. The alcalde of San Antonio, an eyewitness to the last day of the battle, recorded: "The deadly fire of Travis' artillery resembled a constant thunder. At the third charge of 830 (Mexican soldiers) only 130 were left alive. The gallantry of the few Texans who defended the Alamo was really wondered at by the Mexican army. Even generals were astonished at how dearly victory was bought." The Alamo fell on March 6th, 1836. In addition to the 182 Texans who died, approximately 1500 of the best Mexican soldiers were killed and another 500 seriously wounded. The Texans in the Alamo were fighting to protect the rights outlined in the Mexican constitution of 1824 and never knew that Texas had declared its independence 4 days earlier.


The Mexicans loaned the Texans in Gonzales a cannon to keep the Indians away, but then thought better of the idea and asked for their cannon back. The request was politely denied and 200 Mexican soldiers were sent to demand the cannon. Gonzales was fortified and all who lived west of the Guadalupe crossed the river into town. This flag was the Texan's answer as the first shots of the War for Independence were fired on October 2nd, 1835.


In December of 1836 the new government of Texas met at Columbia, and the First Congress accepted the suggestion of David Burnet, first president of the Republic of Texas, to recognize a new design for the "National Flag" of Texas. Under this flag Texas was recognized by the United States of America as a sovereign and independent nation, a status it enjoyed for 9 years.


At the first constitutional Convention, 5 delegates, all signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence, chose a design by Lorenzo de Zavala for the first flag of Texas. He was a delegate and the most accomplished statesman present. De Zavala was born in Mexico, served as Mexico's Secretary of the Treasury, Minister to Paris and as President of the Constitutional Congress in 1824 before siding with the Texans. This flag may have been inspired by Colonel Fannin's request: "Give us a flag to fight under, as unlike theirs as possible ... in time to hoist it in defiance to Santa Anna."


This was the banner the Texans carried at one of the greatest turning points in American history. Santa Anna's army of over 6,000 men swept across Texas to Lynch's Ferry, a gathering point for retreating Texas settlers. Santa Anna led on column onto a narrow peninsula surrounded by San Jacinto Bay and Buffalo Bayou and set up camp. The Texas army rushed to the opportunity, marching nearly all night and at dawn of the next day were on the edge of the grassy plains of San Jacinto. After brief skirmishes, the Texans advanced at 4 o'clock on the afternoon of April 21st, 1836, With cries of "Remember the Alamo" and "Remember Goliad," they charged into the Mexican camp. The attack was so sudden that the battle was over in less than 20 minutes. Of the original Mexican force of over 1500 men, 630 were killed on the spot, 208 were wounded, and 730 were captured. Only 743 Texans were in battle: 6 were killed and another 25 wounded, including Sam Houston. Santa Anna was captured, and the war was over. By early June the entire Mexican army had crossed the Rio Grande, and Texas was free!


Meeting in the village of Houston in 1839, the Third Congress of Texas approved a new design for the country's flag. Under this banner the Republic of Texas was officially recognized by France in 1840 and England in 1842. The French built a legation in Austin which still stands. On February 19th, 1846, this last flag of the Republic of Texas became the state flag of Texas and 3 months later the United States declared war on Mexico.


In 1835 the Texan's fight for independence attracted attention throughout the United States and Texan leaders spoke at public meetings from New Orleans to New York. Although the United States was officially neutral, hundreds of individuals headed west to answer the call for help and to seek their fortune in Texas. Organized groups of volunteers were sent from communities in Kentucky, Ohio, Georgia, Louisiana and Alabama. An 18-year-old girl made this flag for one such group from Macon, Georgia. It became one of the most inspirational symbols during the dark days between the fall of the Alamo and the victory at San Jacinto.


If the Texas Navy had not been able to keep crucial supply lines in New Orleans and America open, the Texas revolution would have failed since there were no useful roads exist in 1835. In addition to protecting the coast, the navy also seized Mexican ships and sent their cargoes to the aid of the Texas volunteers. Open hostilities at sea continued intermittently throughout the years of the Republic. The Texas Navy's victory in 1843 over superior Mexican forces at Campeche is distinguished as the only time sailing ships defeated a steam powered craft in a major sea battle.


Most Texans expected to remain a part of Mexico as long as their rights were preserved and the central government left them alone. Some leaders and a variety of small groups wanted complete and immediate independence from Mexico and were ready and willing to fight for it. One group was formed in Lynchburg, Texas by William Scott. The company of 30 men reported to San Felipe, the capital of Austin's colony, and were sent to join Colonel James Fannin and his men.


The first Constitutional Convention of Texas met at Washington on the Brazos on March 1st, 1836. Two out of three delegates were under 40 years old and all had been elected expressly to declare Texas independence and form a new government. On opening day, a "Norther" blew through and the temperature inside the meeting hall - a wooden building with scraps of cloth for windows and doors - was 33 degrees. Historians record that flying over the hall was the first "Lone Star" flag designed and made by Sarah Dodson.

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