One of Texas’ oldest municipalities; area was inhabited long before recorded history. Early Spanish explorers list an Aranama Indian village at the site, then called Santa Dorotea. In 1749, Spain established a mission and, as was custom, a nearby Presidio (fort) for protection. “Remember Goliad” became a Texas Revolution battle cry honoring Col. James W. Fannin Jr. and his men who were massacred at Goliad. memorial services at grave of Colonel Fannin and his troops on weekend near March 27.
City park at South Market and Franklin Streets Includes Texas Revolution Cannon, memorial shaft and several historical markers.; Nearby is “hanging tree” on courthouse lawn, and market house Museum.
General Zaragoza State Historic Site
Both a state park and international historic site, reconstructed birthplace and statue on one of Mexico’s most famous military figures, General Ignacio Zaragoza (1829-1862). Mexican general and liberal leader was minister of war under Juarez. In 1862 he commanded outnumbered, poorly equipped Mexican army in defense of the Central Mexico city of Puebla against elite French force. Zaragoza flung back the attacking army. It inflicted heavy losses and forcing its withdrawal to the east coast. It is not generally know that this French army had proposed to march into Texas to establish aid and supply line to the Confederate forces – but they reckoned without Zaragoza. The battle date, Cinco de Mayo (May 5 ) is a national holiday throughout Mexico, and is celebrated here and in several Texas cities. The site is two miles south off U.S. 183 at Presido La Bahia.
Goliad State Park
2,208 Acre park features restored Mission Nuestra Senora del Espiritu Santo de Zuniga, generally called Mission Espiritu Santo Excellent interpretive displays, plus camping and picnicking area, rest rooms and river fishing spots. Mission established n 1749 to Christianize Indian inhabitants of the area. One mile south off U.S. 183. Admission.
A junior size Olympic swimming pool, across the highway and not a part of the state park, is operated by the city of Goliad.
Grave of Col. James W. Fannin and Men
Monument marks the grave of Colonel Fannin and 342 men who had surrendered to Mexican forces during the Texas Revolution, and were massacred at the order of General Santa Anna on Palm Sunday morning. March 27, 1836. Two miles south of Goliad off U.S 183, a few hundred yards from Presidio La Bahia.
Market House Museum
Quaint structure with cupola on the courthouse square. Local historical artifacts, and chamber of commerce offering details and brochures about abundant historic sites in this area. Franklin and Market Streets.
Presidio La Bahia
As conquistadors of centuries ago explored new lands for “God, Gold and Glory,: the Church played an integral part in colonization and dominion over vast New World empires. Missions were often first permanent Spanish settlement in the new areas. To protect mission endeavors, a presido (fort) was usually built nearby and manned by Spanish military forces.
Such was Presidio Santa Maria del Loreto de la Bahia, established in 1749 near Mission Espiritu Santo. It grew into one of the more important forts on the Spanish frontier, and is the finest example of a complete Spanish presido in Texas. Its chapel is still in regular use for religious services.
Excavation and restoration of massive stone walls and other structures of fort have been completed by Kathryn O’Connor Foundation.
It was in this presidio that Fannin’s men, during the 1836 Texas Revolution, were imprisoned after their surrender. They were massacred in violation of honorable terms upon which they had laid down their arms.
A museum houses articles discovered during restoration, memorabilia of the Texas Revolution, and artifacts indicating nine levels of civilization at the site. Two miles south off U.S. 183, immediately south of San Antonio River.