• The churches of San Antonio were the heart of the Spanish colonal mission communities.

    San Antonio Missions

    National Historical Park Texas

Mission Community

Drawing of Mission Espada's compound

Drawing of Mission Espada's compound as it may have looked in the 1780s, with modern buildings shown as gray shadows.

Several gateways provided entrance into the compounds of the walled communities. Bastions, or fortified towers, were located along the walls to provide defense. Living quarters were built inside, against the compound walls, for the Indian neophytes and Spanish soldiers, usually only one or two with their families. The Church was the focal point of the missions; the missionary lived in the convento. Workshops and storerooms dotted the grounds. Outside the walls were the croplands and ranches, and the danger of the Apache and Comanche.

 

Did You Know?

Longhorn cattle evolved from 3 breeds of cattle that the Spanish imported in the 18th century.

that Texas longhorn cattle evolved from 3 breeds the Spanish imported to the Americas in the 17th and 18th centuries? They were the barrenda or piebald, the retinto, and ganado prieto. Modern longhorn have long legs and a narrow body - perfectly suited to travel long distances in dry, harsh country.