Happy San Jacinto Day! Here’s how you can celebrate Texas winning its independence from Mexico

San Jacinto Monument, Houston, Texas. (Phil Hammel, Mary Hammel)

Each year on or near April 21, people from all over visit the San Jacinto battlegrounds to witness the re-enactment of the famous fight.

The San Jacinto Museum of History is celebrating today with a ceremony, with Phil Archer as the master of ceremonies.

The San Jacinto Museum of History and the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site will also be celebrating on Saturday with a free event from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. to commemorate the 186th anniversary of Texas won its independence from Mexico.

April 21, 2022 marks 186 years since the Battle of San Jacinto, the final battle for Texas’ independence. General Sam Houston led the Texian army, which was approximately 900 men strong. However, they were outnumbered by the Mexican army-- led by Mexican President Antonio López de Santa-- which had approximately 1,300 men, according to the San Jacinto Museum of History.

At around 4:30 p.m., the Texans launched a surprise attack on the Mexican camp while shouting, “Remember the Alamo! Remember Goliad!” The battle lasted just 18 minutes, although the slaughter continued for hours. Only nine Texans were killed or mortally wounded, while 630 Mexican soldiers were killed and 700 others taken prisoner, according to the SJMH.

Santa Anna was captured on April 22. The Texas State Historical Association states that Santa Anna disappeared during the April 21 battle, and search parties were sent out the next morning. He was discovered hiding in the grass, was dirty and wet and was dressed as a common soldier. The search party did not recognize him until he was addressed as “el presidente” by other Mexican prisoners.

The Battle of San Jacinto avenged the massacre of Texan soldiers at the Alamo on March 6, 1836, and Goliad on March 27, 1836. Not only did it give Texas its independence from Mexico, but it also opened the door for the westward expansion of the United States, according to the SJMH.

This fantastic vintage engraving depicts the portrait of Sam Houston (1793 - 1863), the colorful American politician who went from Governor of Tennessee to the first President of the Republic of Texas, and later the Senator and Governor of Texas. Engraved by John Chester Buttre (1821 - 1893) after the daguerreotype by B. P. Paige. Published in an 1877 collection of American portraits, it is now in the public domain. Digital restoration by Steven Wynn Photography. (Steven Wynn)