Matamoros Battalion Flag, 1823
Courtesy Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Austin
Based on the national flag, this banner honored Mexico's past, present, and future. Celebrating Mexican independence from Spain, the green stripe symbolized independence and hope. White represented the purity of the Catholic faith. Red stood for the Spanish who joined the revolution and the blood spilled by Mexican heroes. To represent the past, Mexico placed an eagle devouring a snake, balanced on a prickly pear cactus, in the center. Centuries ago, an Aztec god was said to have shown the people the exact location to found their empire — where they saw an eagle perched in the middle of a Lake Texcoco. There the Aztecs created canals and islands to build the city of Tenochtitlan, now Mexico City.
The Matamoros Battalion flag was flown at all three key 1836 Texas Revolution battles: the Alamo, Coleto Creek, and San Jacinto. Embroidered with “Batallon Matamoros Permanente,” it was carried by the Republic of Mexico’s standing — or permanent — army. The battalion was named for Father Mariano Matamoros, a military commander during Mexico’s revolution against Spain.
During the Texas Revolution, the Mexican battalion attacked the south wall of the Alamo, both inflicting and suffering heavy losses. Then the unit and flag marched east to fight the Texian army during the battle of Coleto Creek. At San Jacinto, the battalion was stationed in the middle of the Mexican camp. Colonel José María Romero, leader of the Matamoros Battalion, was arrested following his defeat and this flag captured.
Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Austin
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