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Remember the Alamo - but do you?

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1287684.  Sat Jun 23, 2018 11:41 am Reply with quote

A recent discussion I had with someone about the reluctance of some people to view news and facts that are different from what they believe in made me think about how history is often taught from one view and not all sides of the story.

So, with that in mind I thought Iíd look into some famous events and consider them from a different view altogether. I don't know whether it should be a separate section on it's own, but I'll post it here, and I apologise in advance for the long read - but it's worth it!

As I was thinking of what to look at first, I was flicking through the TV channels and one of the channels was one of the history\documentary channels that had a programme about the Alamo, and I thought thatís a perfect one because itís an event that evokes a lot of emotions and pride in many people.

To start off with, we need to go back a few years and look at the Spanish rule over an area that would later incorporate several of the US Southern States.

The relationship that Spain had with Slavery at the time is often viewed through the events of the Amistad, and the popular view that Spain were allies of the Confederacy, despite the fact that Spain declared itself neutral and that many Confederate political and military leaders had been calling for war against Spain prior to the Civil War in order to capture Cuba and increase the slavery trade.

Often forgotten is how Spain felt about the Catholic faith, their competition with Britain and France, and their fear of losing control of the colonies, which was threatened by the US independence.

Slaves in the US (both before independence and after) who fled over the border to Florida and other Spanish territory were granted freedom if they converted to Catholicism and served in the National Guard.

This is not to say that Spain didnít use lots of slaves and didnít abuse them, itís just that when it came to certain colonies the rules were a little different to suit their political needs.

In 1803, despite Spanish opposition, the French sold the US a large tract of land known as the Louisiana purchase, and this led to a declaration from Spain that any slaves crossing the Sabine River into Texas will be freed, an offer that was taken up by many runaway slaves and free black people who hoped for a safer life.

In 1823, shortly after the Mexican war of Independence, and in a decision that would shape history, Stephen Fuller Austin was allowed to bring in some Anglo settlers into Mexico, with the agreement that they could purchase 50 extra acres for every slave they owned. This allowed the local Spanish government to sell more land and bring in more revenue.

By 1825 this meant that the slave population in the region suddenly grew to over 400, and was growing rapidly enough for a law in 1827 to declare that no more slaves could be brought in, and that any children born to slaves would be free.

In 1829, Vicente Guerrero became President of Mexico, the real first president of African descent of what would later become parts of the US. Within weeks of becoming president, Guerrero abolished slavery in Mexico, granting Texas and itís Anglo settlers some time to cope with the change. For his efforts and other liberal ideas Guerrero would later be captured and executed by conservatives in Mexico.

To get around the new laws, Texas settlers made their slaves into life time indentured servants. They also continued to bring in slaves and forced them to sign contracts admitting that they were indentured servants

In 1832, after Santa Anna overthrew the Mexican Government, new regulations were brought in prohibiting contracts from lasting more than 10 years and bringing in various rules to restrict immigration into Texas from the US.

All of this was a cause of real concern to the Anglo settlers who profited greatly from the cheap work that the slaves provided, and the free movement they enjoyed with the US.

When Santa Anna decided to centralise Mexicoís powers, people in several states rebelled, but in Texas this became an armed attempt at secession.

At the start of the Texan war of independence, there were 7,800 Mexican settlers in Texas, but the number of Anglo settlers had swelled to 30,000 Anglo settlers, and 5,000 Black people, many of whom had been made ďindentured servantsĒ.

The battle of the Alamo and the rest are known to history, but the following should be be considered:

The constitution of the Republic of Texas declared that people of color who had been servants for life under Mexican law would become property, that Congress should pass no law restricting emigrants from bring their slaves into Texas, that Congress shall not have the power to emancipate slaves, that Slaveowners may not free their slaves without Congressional approval unless the freed slaves leave Texas, that Free persons of African descent were required to petition the Texas Congress for permission to continue living in the country, and that Africans and the descendants of Africans and Indians were excluded from the class of 'persons' having rights.

Within 4 years, in 1840, the number of slaves in Texas had more than doubled, to 11,300.

In 1850 the number of slaves in Texas grew to 58,000.

In 1860 the number of slaves in Texas was more than 182,000.

Itís worth noting that Texas was one of only 4 states that mentions slavery as a cause for joining the Confederacy. Texas perhaps goes further than any other, mentioning slavery a total of 21 times in their declaration, and includes this line:

We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable.

1287685.  Sat Jun 23, 2018 11:55 am Reply with quote

A while ago I bought a book titled, The Crusades through Arab Eyes by Amin Maalouf. Its content is based almost exclusively on the testimony of contemporary Arab historians and chroniclers. The story begins in Baghdad, August 1099.
Have read about one third so far. Not one of those 'unputdownable' books; lots of facts, descriptions, so lots to digest and mull over.

1287686.  Sat Jun 23, 2018 12:26 pm Reply with quote

It's like my theory about Captain Evans. We only have Scott's word that the poor fellow's last heard words were not 'Stop pushing, you bastards!Do you know how cold it is out here?"

On a mire serious note, are there any records as to how people in, say, Africa or India felt at the time about European 'explorers'?

1287707.  Sat Jun 23, 2018 3:11 pm Reply with quote

tetsabb wrote:
It's like my theory about Captain Evans...

Captain Oates, shirley?

1287715.  Sat Jun 23, 2018 3:56 pm Reply with quote

I'm surprised that the story of the crusades only starts from 1099, and doesn't look at the causes and politics of the time.

I personally think that the death of Pope Sylvester II marked the start of the the Christian World's eventual decision to launch the crusades.

It might even sound familiar today, when you have an intelligent and principled leader who tries to change laws and practices that the general populace are too used to, and is then followed by brash leaders who look to dismantle everything he did, teaching their followers that hatred of other cultures is the right way to conduct politics.

How times have(n't) changed...

1287740.  Sun Jun 24, 2018 5:28 am Reply with quote

Bondee wrote:
tetsabb wrote:
It's like my theory about Captain Evans...

Captain Oates, shirley?

You're absolutely right. I should remember it, what with the porridge connection.. Scott.... Porridge..... Oates..
Next time I mention him, I'll probably call him Quaker..

1287753.  Sun Jun 24, 2018 6:38 am Reply with quote

Makes Ozzy's citation for his ablutions a lot more acceptable.
1387410.  Thu Aug 12, 2021 2:41 pm Reply with quote

The cry 'Remember the Alamo' was not originated by Sam Houston. It was originally credited to Sidney Sherman who led the left flank at the Battle of San Jacinto.


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