San Antonio, the second-largest city in the state of Texas, has a long and storied history. Founded in 1718 by Father Antonio Olivares, the city was originally known as the Mission of San Antonio de Valero. It was later renamed San Antonio de Bexar, after Viceroy Balthasar Manuel de Zúñiga y Guzmán Sotomayor y Sarmiento, the second son of the Duke of Béjar (a city in Spain).The city's founding marked the beginning of a period of growth and prosperity for San Antonio. In 1731, 55 canaries settled near the system of missions that had been established around the source of the San Antonio River.
This settlement was named after the Presidio San Antonio de Béjar, a Spanish military post that protected the missions. By 1860, at the start of the Civil War, San Antonio had grown to become a city of 15,000 people. San Antonio's culture has been shaped by its diverse population. The Little Village neighborhood became an upper-class neighborhood in the early 1820s, and influential San Antonio residents continued to live in the community through the 1830s. The city is also home to a large German population, which is reflected in local institutions such as the Guenther flour mills, Gebhardt chili powder and Mahncke Park. Since the late 20th century, San Antonio has experienced constant population growth.
Visitors can enjoy cowboy culture every February at the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo; throughout the year, they can also see the 40-foot-tall cowboy boots at the North Star Mall. The city is also home to several sister cities around the world that share economic, cultural and technological aspects with each other. San Antonio has also been a major site for several battles throughout its history. During the Texas Revolution, it was the scene of several battles, including the siege of Bexar in December 1835 and the Battle of the Alamo on March 6, 1836. Later, during the Civil War, San Antonio served as a Confederate depot and several Confederate units were formed there. San Antonio is also associated with Butch Cassidy and members of his Wild Bunch gang who often used Fannie Porter's brothel as a hiding place. From San Antonio, travelers could take Camino Real (the current Nacogdoches Highway) to reach Nacogdoches on the U.