Plaza De Armas

(Military Plaza)

Location: East Side of Military Plaza, San Antonio, TX

Plaza de ArmasOne of Oldest permanently settled locals in Texas, this area was first explored by Spaniards in 1691. The Presidio (Fort) of Bexar was relocated here in 1722 and for many years, Plaza was enclosed on three sides by adobe fortifications. During Mexican rebellion of 1813, captured rebels were placed in Comandancia (now old Governor's Palace) and later executed on Plaza. Many lynching's also occurred at a great oak here.

Military importance of Plaza declined in Republic of Texas Era (1836-45) but place came to be one of the liveliest spots in Texas. A busy market, it teemed with noisy vendors of vegetables, fresh eggs, chili peppers, and live chickens. Oxcarts and wagons stood bulging with hay, hides, and wood. Strolling guitarists, tourists, and girls selling songbirds mingled with pickpockets and other characters. Frequently cock fights were held.

After the 1850s, the Plaza was dominated by a stone courthouse (nicknamed the "Bat Cave"). In the 1880s and later, leading merchants here were the "Chili Queens", who dispensed pungent Mexican food at open Air stands.

The present City Hall was completed in 1892, and the old market was moved several blocks west. Although no longer a military or commercial center, ancient plaza remains the municipal heart of San Antonio.