Built in 1724, it was originally the residence and sanctuary for missionaries and native Indians. The Mission San Antonio de Valero, as it was first called, housed Spanish troops in the early 1800's. It continued to house rebel and Mexican troops until the Texas Revolution in 1835 when "Texican" (as John Wayne calls them) and Tejano volunteers fought against Mexican troops and won. The name "Alamo" comes from the Spanish word for cottonwood and was named by Spanish troops after their hometown of Alamo de Parras.
The Alamo is probably best know for the 13 day Battle of the Alamo in 1836 between Mexican troops and the Texans including Jim Bowie, David Crockett and 200 others who fought to protect the Alamo.
The real story is much richer and those who visit it can now learn about it through a new audio walking tour. The Alamo now offers a 50 minute audio tour presented on a MP3 player.