National Park Service: San Antonio Missions as a World Heritage Site
Come hear the National Park Service, which maintains the majority of the five Missions facilities, discuss leading the World Heritage application process. The entire San Antonio community can play a part in this unique opportunity for the five Missions to make the world-class list.
On June 1, 2012 Secretary Ken Salazar announced that the five missions of San Antonio were given the authorization to prepare an official nomination document to present to the World Heritage Committee. Thus began the community’s quest for World Heritage designation. The San Antonio Missions located along the San Antonio River collectively represent the largest and most complete surviving example of New Spain’s colonial missions in the northern frontier. The churches, conventos and associated cultural landscape built through the efforts of Franciscan friars, craftsmen, and indigenous labor demonstrate the Spanish Crown’s effort to maintain control of this area through the enculturation of the indigenous population into Spanish society through Catholicism and citizenship. The five missions of San Antonio include Misión San Antonio de Valero (The Alamo), Misión Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción de Acuña, Misión San José y San Miguel de Aguayo, Misión San Juan Capistrano, and Misión San Francisco de la Espada. The missions’ fifty standing structures and archaeological remains, including indigenous peoples’ housing, perimeter walls for protection, a ranch, farms, and sophisticated irrigation systems, illustrate the full extent of the Crown’s political and economic objectives of creating self-sustaining settlements that would develop into permanent secular communities in defense of the territory. This presentation will focus on the process of completing the World Heritage nomination and what world heritage status means to San Antonio and Texas.