The area of San Antonio was originally explored by Spanish expeditions in 1691 and 1709, which named the San Antonio River and San Pedro Creek. The town San Antonio de Béxar Presidio was founded 1718, and the villa of San Fernando de Béxar was chartered by Canary Islanders in 1731.
Beginning in 1718, five Spanish missions were located along the San Antonio River. The presidial captain's house (later the Spanish Governor's Palace) was completed on Military Plaza in 1749, and San Fernando de Béxar Church was built by 1758.
In 1773 San Antonio de Béxar became the capital of Spanish Texas. In 1778 the settlement had a population of 2,060, including mission Indians. Its circumstances were described as "miserable" by visitors. The population was poor and heterogeneous, made up of Europeans, mestizos, and a few black slaves. The missions were all secularized by 1795, and San Antonio de Valero Mission (later, the Alamo) became a military barracks.
Source: San Antonio
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