The founding of the United States and the Republic of Texas have many parallels. Americans celebrate the day that our founders declared independence from King George III on July 4, 1776. Likewise, years later a group of fifty-nine men gathered at Washington-on-the-Brazos. They adopted and signed a Declaration of Independence from Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, the President of Mexico. This momentous occasion occurred on March 2, 1836. Celebrate Texas Independence at the birthplace of the republic this year.
In 1821, Mexico won its independence from Spain on September 27, 1821. That same year, Mexico granted Moses Austin a land grant along the Brazos River. This was the beginning of many settlers coming to Texas. Most came from the United States. Tensions between Mexico and Texians continued to escalate. At the Battle of Gonzales, where Texians famously waved a “Come and Take It” flag, fighting broke out. Delegates met at Washington-on-the-Brazos for the Convention of 1836. They worked tirelessly for seventeen days and nights to create a new government and constitution. Like the signers of the American declaration, these Texian delegates were potentially signing their own death warrants. Mexico had real power and General Santa Anna was a ruthless dictator.
Shortly after Texas declared its independence, the Alamo fell to Mexico. Infamously, Santa Anna showed no mercy. Then the massacre at Goliad occurred. Fighting ensued. Later, Sam Houston led men in a surprise attack at the Battle of San Jacinto. Santa Anna eventually was captured as a prisoner. Against his will, he signed a treaty giving the Republic of Texas its independence on April 21, 1836.
The Republic of Texas was an independent nation for nine years. The United States annexed it on December 29, 1845. Therefore, Texas became the 28th state. And, it is the only state that was once its own nation.
Just two counties away from the Lake Conroe area in Washington County, the Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site sits along the Brazos River. It is considered the “Birthplace of Texas.” It is a great place to visit any time of the year to learn about Texas history. You can tour the Star of the Republic Museum and Barrington Farms. There is also a nice park with playground equipment to picnic and hike along the nature trails.
Celebrate Texas Independence
This year, Washington-on-the-Brazos State Park hosts Texas Independence Day on February 25th and 26th. The events begin both days at 10 a.m. Saturday’s events end at 6 p.m. On Sunday, it ends much earlier at 3 p.m. Stroll around the park watching demonstrations like cooking and weaving. There will also be firing demonstrations. You will even have an opportunity to sign a Declaration of Independence.
Come out to Washington-on-the-Brazos and celebrate Texas Independence Day. It is just a short drive. And, it is definitely a family-friendly and educational event.