Artifact of the Month — October 2018
by Alamo Associate Curator, Ernesto Rodriguez
One of the wonderful artifacts among our collection is a document that established Mission San Francisco Solano, predecessor to the Alamo. Located along the Rio Grande near present day Eagle Pass, Mission Solan was founded in 1700 by order of the provincial governor of Coahuila y Estremadura, Francisco Cuerbo y Valdez. Officials tasked Sergeant Major Diego Ramon with locating the site for the new the mission and nearby civil town.
Upon establishing the new community, Ramon left Father Antonio de San Buenaventura y Olivares and Friar Francisco Hidalgo to oversee the gathering of converts and construction of the mission. Frequent raids by hostile Indians drove many of the converts away, leading to the mission’s failure. As a result, Solano was closed and later relocated to the San Antonio river valley under a new name in 1718.
Some of the converts from Solano joined the new mission, which was rechristened San Antonio de Valero. The establishment of both Solano and Valero missions set in motion a series of events that changed the world forever.
The founding of Mission Solano allowed for the Franciscan friars to begin instruction of the natives of northern Coahuila in the ways of the Catholic church as well as in how to be part of Spanish society.
In addition, the Franciscan missions provided native population with the skills needed to be loyal Spanish subjects, thus paving the way for the modern day Hispanic Heritage celebrated throughout the Southwest.