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San Antonio Missions becomes 23rd World Heritage site in US

The former Mission Valero church is one of the five missions that are part of the San Antonio Missions World Heritage Site. (Credit: Robert Howen, National Park Service. http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1466/gallery/)

We at World Heritage Ohio congratulate the San Antonio Missions, which made history on Sunday, July 5 by becoming the 23rd UNESCO World Heritage Site in the United States and the first in Texas.

According to the UNESCO website, the San Antonio Missions “illustrate the Spanish Crown’s efforts to colonize, evangelize and defend the northern frontier of New Spain” and are “an example of the interweaving of Spanish and Coahuiltecan cultures.”

The most well-known of these missions is the Alamo, the site of the infamous 1836 battle between Mexican forces led by General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna and 200 Texan volunteer soldiers.

This inscription comes at a precarious time in the relationship between the UNESCO and the United States, which hasn’t paid its dues since 2011 and lost its voting privileges in 2013. This places World Heritage nominations from the United States at a disadvantage in the consideration process relative to those from countries that are still paying dues. Read more about that controversy – and how you can help – here.