• 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?

Spanish mission vaquero herding cattle.

that the first cattle drives originated from the (San Antonio) Spanish missions in Texas? Vaqueros drove hundreds of cattle, sheep, and goats to Louisiana during the American War for Independence to supply American colonists. Spain's real intent was to weaken the British militarily and financially.