The history of the six flags over Texas

John Duke Smith: People, Places and Such

The Six Flags Over Texas theme park in Arlington makes the public aware of our Texas heritage. Texas has been under the jurisdiction of six sovereign nations: Spain, France, Mexico, Republic of Texas, Confederate States of America and the United States of America.  It should be noted that Texans fought or served under at least nine more flags during their fight for independence from Mexico and the Republic of Texas era.

In 1835 representatives of the 13 settlements in Texas met at San Felipe de Austin to form a provisional government.  The council stopped short of declaring war with Mexico, but instead, they declared allegiance to the 1824 Mexican Constitution which had been abolished in 1834 by President Santa Anna when he became the dictator of Mexico.

In 1835, the General Council of Texas commissioned four ships for the Republic of Texas Navy. The flag of the Texas Navy was created by Charles Hawkins, Commodore of the Navy.  This was the official Texas flag for a year.

When hostilities between the Texans and Mexican government were reaching a boiling point, the most defiant of the battle flags was the Texas Gonzales flag. It was created for the town of Gonzalez as they intended to keep the little cannon they had borrowed from the Mexican Army so they could defend themselves from hostile Indians.  A small group of soldiers from San Antonio were coming to Gonzales to retrieve the cannon. When the soldiers reached Gonzales they were confronted by a group of armed citizens holding a flag featuring a cannon and a challenge “Come and Take It.” 

The Mexican soldiers decided not to take it.  They returned to San Antonio to request additional help.  A larger Mexican force marched back to Gonzalez, but the cannon was not there.                                              

The Alamo Battle Flag was less defiant.  In 1836, Texans were still willing to remain a part of Mexico if they could be governed by the Mexican Constitution of 1824 and not the dictator, Santa Anna.  As a symbol of Santa Anna’s disregard for the Constitution and for the Texan’s support for the Constitution, they created a new flag by replacing the Mexican emblem in the middle of the Mexican flag with the numbers “1824.”  This was the flag that flew at the Alamo during the battle.

Space or time is not available to discuss at length the other six flags. They are the Independence flag, the first Lone Star Texas flag which was created for the Texas Volunteers, the Texas Troutman flag was created for a group of Georgians who came to Texas to support the independence movement, the first Flag of the Texas Republic in March 1836, the second national flag of Texas in December 1836 and the third Republic of Texas Flag in 1839.  The 1839 Lone Star flag became the State Flag of Texas in 1845 when the Republic of Texas consolidated with the United States of America.

Those of us currently living the casual life in the Burleson area owe a great gratitude to those who made this state possible. For more information, check Wikipedia.  

Have a question? Email johndukesmith@sbcglobal.net. John is a local history buff.

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