Palo Alto Battlefield: US-Mexican War's Start in 1846 | WNPA

Palo Alto Battlefield

National Historical Park


On May 8, 1846, US and Mexican troops clashed on the Palo Alto prairie. The battle was the first in a two-year war that changed the map of North America. The site of this notable battle provides an understanding of the causes, events, and consequences of the US-Mexican War.

Palo Alto Battlefield National Historic Site

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Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park preserves the site of the first major battle of the US–Mexican War, fought on May 8, 1846. The park consists of two sites, Palo Alto Battlefield and Resaca de la Palma Battlefield, totaling approximately 3,400 acres. The Mexican army occupied Resaca de la Palma, hoping the ravine filled with dense brush would protect the troops after their defeat at Palo Alto. Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park is the only National Park Service unit representing the  US–Mexican War, which resulted in Mexico ceding half of its land, extending the United States to the Pacific Ocean. “Palo alto” means “tall trees”; likely, the battlefield was named after the dense thickets of mesquite and acacia trees that were found across the prairie. The now serene landscape offers visitors an opportunity to learn about and reflect on a very turbulent time in the relationship between the two countries.

Stories from Palo Alto Battlefield

Research U.S. National Archives to Locate Maps of Historic Roads of the Rio Grande Valley
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