The Battle of San Jacinto Day
The Battle of San Jacinto is a holiday that is observed in Texas in the U.S and commemorates the battle that took place between the Texas army and Mexican forces on April 21st, 1836. This day not only commemorates winning the battle but the day is also considered the turning point in Texas’ independence from Mexico.
History of The Battle of San Jacinto
In the 1820s, Texas was a part of Mexico – a country which had just gained its own independence in 1810. However, a lot of the Americans that lived in the area wanted a Republic of Texas that was independent of both Mexico and the United States. This prompted them to draw up the Declaration of Independence of Texas in 1835.
Upon hearing the news of this independent Texas, many volunteers from all over the U.S began flooding into this area to lend their support and their guns, if needed, for the cause of Texan independence. This uprising soon caught the attention of Mexican president Santa Anna and he marched his army all the way to Texas in 1836 to quell this armed revolt.
At first, Santa Anna’s campaign was quite successful in putting down Texan resistance and managed to liberate several areas of Texas. This changed on April 21st, 1836, however, when the commander of the Texas militia – Sam Houston – launched a surprise attack against Santa Anna’s forces along the San Jacinto River.
Santa Anna had spread himself thin after the siege of the Alamo and was completely unprepared for the upcoming attack, which led to his forces being routed and hundreds of Mexican soldiers, as well as General Santa Anna himself, being taken prisoner by Sam Houston. After the battle, Mexico was forced to give up Texas and the area soon became fully independent from Mexico. However, the dream of a completely independent Texas would fall to the wayside in 1845 when Texas was admitted as the 28th state of the United States.
Today, the site of the battle is now known the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site, which was designated a National Historic Landmark on December 19th, 1960. It is also home to the San Jacinto Monument. This monument is a column that rises approximately 567 feet (making it 13 feet taller than the Washington Monument) and is topped with a star that weighs over 200 tons. Construction of this monument began in 1936 and completed in 1939. On April 21st, 1939 it was officially dedicated.
The Battle Of San Jacinto Day Customs & Celebrations
At one point in time, The Battle of San Jacinto Day used to be a public holiday but it isn’t any longer. Which means that most private businesses will remain open on this day, although for state offices it is a partial staffing holiday. However, since it is an official holiday in the state of Texas, there are many celebrations of this holiday to be found all across the state. One of the most impressive is a reenactment that is held on the site of the battle on the Saturday around April 21st. This reenactment features full regalia with cannons, costumes, and even pyrotechnics.
It is also customary for many Texans to fly the Texan Flag on this day. This flag, also known as the Lone Star Flag, is either flown alone or with an American Flag. Many people will also work the Lone Star Flag into the decorations for the parties, picnics, and BBQs that take place on this day. Firework displays are another common occurrence on this day.