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Updated 05/05/2011 09:10 AM
Wilde About Texas: Historic Goliad has links to Cinco de Mayo celebrations
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Since its beginnings as a fort and mission in the mid 1700s, Goliad has played an important role in the formation of Texas.
The town set the stage for the Battle of Puebla, which is celebrated every Cinco de Mayo. Nine flags have flown over Presidio La Bahía, a fort with a strategic location that made it an important factor in Texas' fight for independence.
"The first Texas declaration of independence from Mexico was signed here, and not very many people know about that," Site Director Newton Warzecha said.
Warzecha has been with the historic site since 1991.
"This is the location of the Goliad Massacre, where 342 Texan prisoners of war were executed on orders from Mexican dictator Santa Anna,” Warzecha said.
That massacre served as a rally cry for Texans, much like the Battle of Puebla rallied the Mexican army during the Franco-Mexican War.
"The reason we celebrate Cinco de Mayo is the battle of Puebla, and the man who was in charge at that point in time, that won that battle, was from Goliad, was from here," Park Ranger Tammy Zellner said.
Zaragoza was born in a home just outside Presidio La Bahia. His family eventually moved to Monterey. On May 5, 1862, Zaragoza led the Mexican Army to victory at the Battle of Puebla, a victory that's still celebrated today.
Goliad is celebrating Cinco de Mayo with its annual fiesta. The party starts Friday evening and continues all day Saturday.