Learning America's History
Palo Alto Battlefield National Historic Park

A Pivotal Moment in America's History

The Palo Alto Battlefield, now a National Historic Park, memorializes the site of a pivotal moment in US history.

 On May 8, 1846, US and Mexican troops fought on the Palo Alto prairie. This Mexican-American War battle was the first in a two-year conflict that significantly altered the map of North America. The park portrays the war’s narrative from American and Mexican viewpoints, giving a nuanced account of these historical events.

The movie we watched explained that the United States’ annexation of Texas in 1845 was one reason for the battle. Ultimately, the war led to Mexico signing the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, surrendering around 52% of its territory to the United States. The area contained all or parts of California, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Kansas.
The battlefield at Palo Alto still has much of its 1846 character, as described in soldiers’ letters and diary entries. The large flatland has impenetrable cordgrass, cactus, and other thorny plants. However, the similarity stopped there. The battle must have been deafening with thundering cannons, gunfire, or screaming soldiers. Today’s peaceful silence felt, therefore, rather eerie.


Monday, April 15, 2024


0.66 miles

Moving Time

0:15:35 hours


86 °F, fresh breeze, cloudy