The mural to the left of the medallion shows Texas history from the arrival of Europeans in the 1500s to the founding of the Republic of Texas four hundred years later. The mural traces both the Texans of Spanish and English descent. The Spanish enter on the left and gradually become the Mexicans, and the American settlers enter on the right. These two factions meet and come to a climax in the center of the mural, what many consider the pinnacle of Texas History — the Battle of the Alamo. The slashes of silvery light symbolize shifts in time and separate various eras in Texas History.
In the top left corner of the mural is a Spanish galleon. The ship was wrecked in 1528, leaving Cabeza de Vaca at the mercy of the native people he encountered. Next, Spanish explorers Coronado and DeSoto enter the picture exploring and charting Texas extensively. The Spanish established missions and attempted to convert the Native Americans. After two centuries, Spanish influence diminished and France challenged their empire in the New World.
At the top of the mural, Marquis de la Salle can be seen planting the French flag to claim the Texas coast for Louis XIV of France. Above him are three allegorical figures representing poverty, chastity and obedience.
At the bottom, to the left of the Alamo, is the scene of the first actual battle of the Texian Revolution, which took place at Gonzales in October 1835. Mexican forces descended on the Texians to recover an old cannon that had been left by the Spanish. Eighteen men were determined to keep the cannon and charged the Mexican army waving a flag with the defiant “Come and Take It” scrawled on it. The Texian forces defeated the Mexican army and won the battle.
On the right hand side of the mural, the artist depicts the coming of American settlers to Texas. In the top right corner of the mural two filibusters are represented: Philip Nolan and Peter Ellis Bean. The third figure is Stephen F. Austin, the “Father of Texas.” Austin is also shown at the bottom of the mural leading the first three hundred settlers to Texas under the impresario system.
The mural continues to show events leading up to the Battle of the Alamo: the Gutierrez-Magee expedition at La Bahia, the Battles of Anahuac and Velasco, James Fannin at Mission Concepion, and Ben Milam at the siege of San Antonio. At the top of this section of the mural, Eugene Savage has appropriately placed three allegorical figures representing Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity.
Central to the mural and Texas History is the legacy of the Alamo. Savage chose to show the defining moment when the men at the old Spanish mission were challenged to stay and defend it. As the revolutionaries cross Travis’ imaginary line, they carry Colonel James Bowie on a stretcher. Despite the gallantry, the band of one hundred and eighty men was no match for the 5,000 plus strong Mexican army. After their slaughter, the bodies were burned. The artist shows thick clouds of billowing smoke surrounding the scene. One of the last scenes is the surrender of General Santa Anna after San Houston defeated him at the Battle of San Jacinto a month after the Battle of the Alamo.
As a result of the victory at San Jacinto, Texas became an independent republic. Next to the symbolic figure of the Republic at the top of the mural are figures representing the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Great Britain, and the United States of America, the five nations that extended diplomatic recognition to the Republic of Texas. Standing behind them is Stephen F. Austin, the only person to be represented three times in the mural.