Palo Alto Battlefield National Historic Site in Texas, the only site in the entire National Park System dedicated to the Mexican-American War, presents both nations' perspectives on the battle over a boundary. In 1845, when Texas entered the Union, it brought with it a boundary dispute with Mexico. In May 1846, President James K. Polk declared war, and the first battle of the Mexican-American War was fought on the plains of Palo Alto.
©National Park Service
Palo Alto Battlefield National Historic Site commemorates the
General Zachary Taylor's troops met about 4,000 Mexican soldiers armed with dated cannons and ammunition. The cannonballs fired at the American troops traveled so slowly that U.S. soldiers simply side-stepped the incoming rounds. With the help of newly manufactured cannons that fired farther and faster than the Mexican arms, the United States Army pushed back the Mexican troops. This victory and others paved the way for U.S. invasion and occupation of the northeastern portion of Mexico, south of the Rio Grande.
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The war ended on February 2, 1848, with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which expanded the United States by more than half a million square miles. Surrender of California and New Mexico territories in addition to the disputed border cost Mexico half of its territory. The 3,400-acre park, authorized in 1978, is gradually increasing its limited menu of visitor activities.
Palo Alto Battlefield National Historic Site Information
Address: 1623 Central Blvd., Brownsville, TX
Hours of Operation: Open daily 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day
Learn more about these other national historic sites:
To learn more about national monuments, memorials, and historic sites, and other travel destinations in North America, visit:
- National Monuments: Learn more about America's national monuments.
- National Memorials: Discover national memorials in the U.S.
- National Historic Sites: Read about American national historic sites.
- Texas State Guide: Learn about Mobil Travel Guide-rated hotels and restaurants in Texas as well as other recreational activities.
Eric Peterson is a Denver-based author who has contributed to numerous guidebooks about the Western United States.