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Antonio López de Santa Anna

Antonio López de Santa Anna

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Antonio de Padua María Severino López de Santa Anna y Pérez de Lebrón (21 February 1794 – 21 June 1876), often known as Santa Anna or López de Santa Anna, known as "the Napoleon of the West," was a Mexican
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 political leader, general, and president who greatly influenced early Mexican and Spanish politics and government. Santa Anna fought first against Mexican independence
Mexican War of Independence
The Mexican War of Independence was an armed conflict between the people of Mexico and the Spanish colonial authorities which started on 16 September 1810. The movement, which became known as the Mexican War of Independence, was led by Mexican-born Spaniards, Mestizos and Amerindians who sought...

 from Spain, then in support of it. Though not the first caudillo
Caudillo
Caudillo is a Spanish word for "leader" and usually describes a political-military leader at the head of an authoritarian power. The term translates into English as leader or chief, or more pejoratively as warlord, dictator or strongman. Caudillo was the term used to refer to the charismatic...

(military leader) of Mexico, he was among the earliest. He held the rank of general and/or the office of president (or both concurrently) at various times over a turbulent forty-year career; he was president of Mexico on eleven non-consecutive occasions over a period of twenty-two years.

Early years


Santa Anna was born in Xalapa
Xalapa
Xalapa-Enríquez, commonly Xalapa or Jalapa, is the capital city of the Mexican state of Veracruz and the name of the surrounding municipality. In the year 2005 census the city reported a population of 387,879 and the municipality of which it serves as municipal seat reported a population of...

, Veracruz
Veracruz
Veracruz, formally Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave , is one of the 31 states that, along with the Federal District, comprise the 32 federative entities of Mexico. It is divided in 212 municipalities and its capital city is...

, Nueva España
New Spain
New Spain, formally called the Viceroyalty of New Spain , was a viceroyalty of the Spanish colonial empire, comprising primarily territories in what was known then as 'América Septentrional' or North America. Its capital was Mexico City, formerly Tenochtitlan, capital of the Aztec Empire...

 ("New Spain"), on 21 February 1794. His was a respected Spanish colonial family, and he and his parents, Antonio López de Santa Anna (who served for a time as a sub-delegate for the Spanish province of Veracruz) and Manuela Pérez de Lebrón, belonged to the criollo
Criollo (people)
The Criollo class ranked below that of the Iberian Peninsulares, the high-born permanent residence colonists born in Spain. But Criollos were higher status/rank than all other castes—people of mixed descent, Amerindians, and enslaved Africans...

middle class (criollos were persons of European descent but born in the Americas). Santa Anna's parents were wealthy enough to send their son to school.

In June of 1810, Santa Anna at age sixteen joined the Fijo de Veracruz infantry regiment as a cadet – against the wishes of his parents, who wanted him to pursue a career in commerce. There, he was under the command of Joaquín de Arredondo.

Military career


In 1810, the same year that Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla started Mexico’s first attempt to gain independence from Spain, Santa Anna joined the colonial Spanish Army under Joaquín de Arredondo, who taught him much about dealing with Mexican nationalist rebels. In 1811, Santa Anna was wounded in the "left arm or hand" by an arrow during the campaign under Col. Arredondo in the town of Amoladeras, in the state of San Luis Potosí
San Luis Potosí
San Luis Potosí officially Estado Libre y Soberano de San Luis Potosí is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 58 municipalities and its capital city is San Luis Potosí....

. In 1813, Santa Anna served in Texas against the Gutiérrez-Magee expedition
Gutiérrez-Magee Expedition
The Gutiérrez-Magee Expedition was an 1812–13 joint Mexican-American filibustering expedition against Spanish Texas during the early years of the Mexican War of Independence.-Background:...

, and at the Battle of Medina
Battle of Medina
The Battle of Medina was fought approximately 20 miles south of San Antonio de Bexar on August 18, 1813 as part of the Mexican War of Independence against Spanish authority in Mexico...

, in which he was cited for bravery. He was promoted quickly; he became a second lieutenant in February 1812, and first lieutenant before the end of that year. In the aftermath of the rebellion, the young officer witnessed Arredondo's fierce counter-insurgency policy of mass executions. Historians have speculated Santa Anna modeled his policy and conduct in the Texas Revolution
Texas Revolution
The Texas Revolution or Texas War of Independence was an armed conflict between Mexico and settlers in the Texas portion of the Mexican state Coahuila y Tejas. The war lasted from October 2, 1835 to April 21, 1836...

 on his experience under Arredondo.

During the next few years, in which the war for independence reached a stalemate, Santa Anna erected villages for displaced citizens near Veracruz
Veracruz, Veracruz
Veracruz, officially known as Heroica Veracruz, is a major port city and municipality on the Gulf of Mexico in the Mexican state of Veracruz. The city is located in the central part of the state. It is located along Federal Highway 140 from the state capital Xalapa, and is the state's most...

. He also pursued gambling, a vice that would follow him all through his life.

In 1816, Santa Anna was promoted to captain. He conducted occasional campaigns to suppress Native Americans or to restore order after a tumult had begun. Spanish territory extended to present-day Oregon in the north and Panama in the south. It was a territory too vast for the Spanish Crown to control.

In 1821, Santa Anna declared his loyalty for El Libertador (The Liberator): the future Emperor of Mexico
Emperor of Mexico
The Emperor of Mexico was the head of state and ruler of Mexico on two non-consecutive occasions in the 19th century....

, Agustín de Iturbide
Agustín de Iturbide
Agustín Cosme Damián de Iturbide y Aramburu , also known as Augustine I of Mexico, was a Mexican army general who built a successful political and military coalition that was able to march into Mexico City on 27 September 1821, decisively ending the Mexican War of Independence...

. He rose to prominence by quickly driving Spanish forces out of the vital port city of Veracruz that same year. Iturbide rewarded him with the rank of general. Santa Anna exploited his situation for personal gain. He acquired a large hacienda and at the same time continued gambling.

The era of coups


Santa Anna was ambiguous in support of Iturbide, who was never popular and needed the military to maintain his power. Santa Anna’s normal loyalty was to ally with the wealthy and privileged, but his immediate concern was to be on the winning side in any battle. Switching allegiances never troubled him. Santa Anna declared himself retired, "unless my country needs me".

In 1822 Santa Anna went over to the camp of military leaders supporting the plan to overthrow Iturbide. In December 1822 Santa Anna and General Guadalupe Victoria
Guadalupe Victoria
Guadalupe Victoria born José Miguel Ramón Adaucto Fernández y Félix, was a Mexican politician and military man who fought for independence against the Spanish Empire in the Mexican War of Independence. He was a deputy for Durango and a member of the Supreme Executive Power...

 signed the Plan de Casa Mata to abolish the monarchy and transform Mexico into a republic. In May 1823, following Iturbide's resignation, Victoria became the first president of Mexico. Santa Anna's role in the overthrow of Iturbide gained support from other leaders, although they knew of his propensity for switching sides in an opportunistic manner.

By 1824, Vicente Guerrero
Vicente Guerrero
Vicente Ramón Guerrero Saldaña was one of the leading revolutionary generals of the Mexican War of Independence, who fought against Spain for independence in the early 19th century, and served briefly as President of Mexico...

 appointed Santa Anna governor of the state
States of Mexico
The United Mexican States is a federal republic formed by 32 federal entities .According to the Constitution of 1917, the states of the federation are free and sovereign. Each state has their own congress and constitution, while the Federal District has only limited autonomy with a local Congress...

 of Yucatán
Yucatán
Yucatán officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Yucatán is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 106 municipalities and its capital city is Mérida....

. On his own initiative, Santa Anna prepared to invade Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

, which remained under Spanish rule, but he possessed neither the funds nor sufficient support for such a venture.

In 1828, Santa Anna, Vicente Guerrero, Lorenzo Zavala and other politicians staged a coup against the elected President Guadalupe Victoria
Guadalupe Victoria
Guadalupe Victoria born José Miguel Ramón Adaucto Fernández y Félix, was a Mexican politician and military man who fought for independence against the Spanish Empire in the Mexican War of Independence. He was a deputy for Durango and a member of the Supreme Executive Power...

. On 3 December 1828, the army shelled the National Palace; the election results were annulled and Guerrero took over as president.

In 1829, Spain made a final attempt to retake Mexico in Tampico
Tampico
Tampico is a city and port in the state of Tamaulipas, in the country of Mexico. It is located in the southeastern part of the state, directly north across the border from Veracruz. Tampico is the third largest city in Tamaulipas, and counts with a population of 309,003. The Metropolitan area of...

 with an invading force of 2,600 soldiers. Santa Anna marched against the Barradas Expedition
Isidro Barradas
Isidro Barradas was a Spanish general sent to Mexico in 1829, eight years after Mexican independence, to try to reconquer the country for the Spanish Crown.-The background:...

 with a much smaller force and defeated the Spaniards, many of whom were suffering from yellow fever
Yellow fever
Yellow fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic disease. The virus is a 40 to 50 nm enveloped RNA virus with positive sense of the Flaviviridae family....

. The defeat of the Spanish army not only increased Santa Anna’s popularity but also consolidated the independence of the new Mexican republic. Santa Anna was declared a hero
Hero
A hero , in Greek mythology and folklore, was originally a demigod, their cult being one of the most distinctive features of ancient Greek religion...

. From then on, he styled himself "The Victor of Tampico" and "The Savior of the Motherland". His main act of self-promotion was to call himself "The Napoleon of the West".

In a December 1829 coup, Vice-President Anastasio Bustamante
Anastasio Bustamante
Anastasio Bustamante y Oseguera was president of Mexico three times, from 1830 to 1832, from 1837 to 1839 and from 1839 to 1841. He was a Conservative. He first came to power by leading a coup against president Vicente Guerrero...

 rebelled against President Guerrero, had him executed, and on 1 January 1830 took over the presidency. In 1832 a rebellion started against Bustamante, intended to install Manuel Pedraza, whose election in 1828 recognized the rebels as legitimate. The rebels offered the command to Gen. Santa Anna. In August 1832, Bustamante temporarily appointed Melchor Múzquiz
Melchor Múzquiz
Melchor de Eca y Múzquiz was a Mexican soldier and politician. From August to December 1832 he was president of Mexico....

 to the post of president. He moved against the rebels and defeated them at Gallinero. Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato and Puebla marched to meet the forces of Santa Anna, who were approaching the town of Puebla
Puebla
Puebla officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Puebla is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 217 municipalities and its capital city is Puebla....

. After two more battles Bustamante, Pedraza and Santa Anna signed the agreement Zavaleta
Zavaleta
Zavaleta is a surname of Basque origin. The Basque are a people indigenous to areas of northern Spain and southern France, an historical region known as Basque Country.- Origin and Meaning :...

 (21–23 December 1832) to install Pedraza as president. Bustamante went into exile. Santa Anna accompanied the new president on 3 Jan. 1833, and joined him in the capital.

At the pinnacle of power


President Pedraza convened Congress. It elected Santa Anna as President on 1 April 1833. President Santa Anna appointed Valentín Gómez Farías
Valentín Gómez Farías
Valentín Gómez Farías was several times acting President of Mexico in the 1830s and 1840s.Gomez Farias was one of the more important political figures in early Mexico. The first presidency of Santa Anna from 1833 to 1836 was a temporary victory for the Mexican Liberals...

 as Vice-President and largely left the governing of the nation to him. Farias began to implement liberal reforms, mostly aimed against the army and the Catholic Church, which was the state religion in Mexico. Such reforms as abolishing tithing as a legal obligation, and the seizure of church property and finances, prompted Mexican Conservatives to turn to Santa Anna to take power again.

At their behest, Santa Anna denounced the administration of Vice-President Farias, and forced him and his main supporters to flee to the United States. He formed a new Catholic, centralist, conservative government which replaced the 1824 constitution with the new constitutional document, entitled "The Seven Laws" (Constitution of 1836). Santa Anna dissolved the Congress and began the centralization of power. The regime became a centralized dictatorship backed by the military.

Several states openly rebelled against the changes: Coahuila y Tejas
Coahuila y Tejas
Coahuila y Tejas was one of the constituent states of the newly established United Mexican States under its 1824 Constitution.It had two capitals: first Saltillo, and then Monclova...

 (the northern part of which would become the Republic of Texas
Republic of Texas
The Republic of Texas was an independent nation in North America, bordering the United States and Mexico, that existed from 1836 to 1846.Formed as a break-away republic from Mexico by the Texas Revolution, the state claimed borders that encompassed an area that included all of the present U.S...

), San Luis Potosí
San Luis Potosí
San Luis Potosí officially Estado Libre y Soberano de San Luis Potosí is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 58 municipalities and its capital city is San Luis Potosí....

, Querétaro
Querétaro
Querétaro officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Querétaro de Arteaga is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided into 18 municipalities and its capital city is Santiago de Querétaro....

, Durango
Durango
Durango officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Durango is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. The state is located in Northwest Mexico. With a population of 1,632,934, it has Mexico's second-lowest population density, after Baja...

, Guanajuato
Guanajuato
Guanajuato officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Guanajuato is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 46 municipalities and its capital city is Guanajuato....

, Michoacán
Michoacán
Michoacán officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Michoacán de Ocampo is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 113 municipalities and its capital city is Morelia...

, Yucatán
Yucatán
Yucatán officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Yucatán is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 106 municipalities and its capital city is Mérida....

, Jalisco
Jalisco
Jalisco officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Jalisco is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is located in Western Mexico and divided in 125 municipalities and its capital city is Guadalajara.It is one of the more important states...

, Nuevo León
Nuevo León
Nuevo León It is located in Northeastern Mexico. It is bordered by the states of Tamaulipas to the north and east, San Luis Potosí to the south, and Coahuila to the west. To the north, Nuevo León has a 15 kilometer stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border adjacent to the U.S...

, Tamaulipas
Tamaulipas
Tamaulipas officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Tamaulipas is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 43 municipalities and its capital city is Ciudad Victoria. The capital city was named after Guadalupe Victoria, the...

, and Zacatecas
Zacatecas
Zacatecas officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Zacatecas is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 58 municipalities and its capital city is Zacatecas....

. Several of these states formed their own governments, the Republic of the Rio Grande
Republic of the Rio Grande
The Republic of the Rio Grande was an independent nation that insurgents against the Central Mexican Government sought to establish in northern Mexico. The rebellion lasted from January 17 to November 6, 1840 and the Republic of the Rio Grande was never officially recognized.- Background :After a...

, the Republic of Yucatan
Republic of Yucatán
The Republic of Yucatan was a nineteenth century sovereign state during two periods of the century. The first Republic of Yucatan, founded May 29, 1823, joined the Mexican federation as the Federated Republic of Yucatán on December 23, 1823, less than seven months later...

, and the Republic of Texas
Republic of Texas
The Republic of Texas was an independent nation in North America, bordering the United States and Mexico, that existed from 1836 to 1846.Formed as a break-away republic from Mexico by the Texas Revolution, the state claimed borders that encompassed an area that included all of the present U.S...

. (Only the Texans defeated Santa Anna and retained their independence). Their fierce resistance was possibly fueled by reprisals Santa Anna committed against his defeated enemies. The New York Post
New York Post
The New York Post is the 13th-oldest newspaper published in the United States and is generally acknowledged as the oldest to have been published continuously as a daily, although – as is the case with most other papers – its publication has been periodically interrupted by labor actions...

editorialized that "had [Santa Anna] treated the vanquished with moderation and generosity, it would have been difficult if not impossible to awaken that general sympathy for the people of Texas which now impels so many adventurous and ardent spirits to throng to the aid of their brethren".

The Zacatecan militia
Militia
The term militia is commonly used today to refer to a military force composed of ordinary citizens to provide defense, emergency law enforcement, or paramilitary service, in times of emergency without being paid a regular salary or committed to a fixed term of service. It is a polyseme with...

, the largest and best supplied of the Mexican states, led by Francisco Garcia, was well armed with .753 caliber British 'Brown Bess
Brown Bess
Brown Bess is a nickname of uncertain origin for the British Army's Land Pattern Musket and its derivatives. This musket was used in the era of the expansion of the British Empire and acquired symbolic importance at least as significant as its physical importance. It was in use for over a hundred...

' musket
Musket
A musket is a muzzle-loaded, smooth bore long gun, fired from the shoulder. Muskets were designed for use by infantry. A soldier armed with a musket had the designation musketman or musketeer....

s and Baker .61 rifles. Nonetheless, after two hours of combat on 12 May 1835, Santa Anna's "Army of Operations" defeated the Zacatecan militia and took almost 3,000 prisoners. Santa Anna allowed his army to loot Zacatecas for forty-eight hours. After defeating Zacatecas, he planned to move on to Coahuila y Tejas
Coahuila y Tejas
Coahuila y Tejas was one of the constituent states of the newly established United Mexican States under its 1824 Constitution.It had two capitals: first Saltillo, and then Monclova...

 to quell the rebellion there, which was being supported by settlers from the United States (aka Texians).

Texas Revolution


Like other states discontented with the central Mexican authorities, the Texas department of the Mexican state of Coahuila y Tejas rebelled in late 1835 and declared itself independent on 2 March 1836. Santa Anna marched north to bring Texas back under Mexican control. On 6 March 1836, at the Battle of the Alamo
Battle of the Alamo
The Battle of the Alamo was a pivotal event in the Texas Revolution. Following a 13-day siege, Mexican troops under President General Antonio López de Santa Anna launched an assault on the Alamo Mission near San Antonio de Béxar . All but two of the Texian defenders were killed...

, Santa Anna's forces killed 187–250 Texan defenders and later executed more than 350 Texan prisoners at the Goliad Massacre
Goliad massacre
The Goliad Massacre was an execution of Republic of Texas soldiers and their commander, James Fannin, by Mexico, reluctantly carried out by General Jose de Urrea.-Background:...

 (27 March 1836).

The defeat at the Alamo however served its purpose buying time for General Sam Houston
Sam Houston
Samuel Houston, known as Sam Houston , was a 19th-century American statesman, politician, and soldier. He was born in Timber Ridge in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, of Scots-Irish descent. Houston became a key figure in the history of Texas and was elected as the first and third President of...

 and his Texas forces. Houston and his soldiers defeated Santa Anna at the Battle of San Jacinto
Battle of San Jacinto
The Battle of San Jacinto, fought on April 21, 1836, in present-day Harris County, Texas, was the decisive battle of the Texas Revolution. Led by General Sam Houston, the Texian Army engaged and defeated General Antonio López de Santa Anna's Mexican forces in a fight that lasted just eighteen...

 on 21 April 1836, with the Texan army shouting "Remember Goliad, Remember the Alamo!" The day after the battle on 22 April, a small band of Texan forces led by James Sylvester captured Santa Anna, dressed in a dragoon private's uniform and hiding in a marsh.

Acting Texas president David G. Burnet
David G. Burnet
David Gouverneur Burnet was an early politician within the Republic of Texas, serving as interim President of Texas , second Vice President of the Republic of Texas , and Secretary of State for the new state of Texas after it was annexed to the United States of America.Burnet was born in Newark,...

 and Santa Anna signed the Treaties of Velasco
Treaties of Velasco
The Treaties of Velasco were two documents signed at Velasco, Texas, on May 14, 1836, between Antonio López de Santa Anna of Mexico and the Republic of Texas, in the aftermath of the Battle of San Jacinto ....

: "in his official character as chief of the Mexican nation, he acknowledged the full, entire, and perfect Independence of the Republic of Texas." In exchange, Burnet and the Texas government guaranteed Santa Anna's life and transport to Veracruz. Back in Mexico City
Mexico City
Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

, however, a new government declared that Santa Anna was no longer president and that the treaty with Texas was null and void.

While captive in Texas, Joel Roberts Poinsett
Joel Roberts Poinsett
Joel Roberts Poinsett was a physician, botanist and American statesman. He was a member of the United States House of Representatives, the first United States Minister to Mexico , a U.S...

 — U.S. minister to Mexico in 1824 — offered a harsh assessment of General Santa Anna's situation, stating:
Say to General Santa Anna that when I remember how ardent an advocate he was of liberty ten years ago, I have no sympathy for him now, that he has gotten what he deserves.


To this message, Santa Anna made the reply:
Say to Mr. Poinsett that it is very true that I threw up my cap for liberty with great ardor, and perfect sincerity, but very soon found the folly of it. A hundred years to come my people will not be fit for liberty. They do not know what it is, unenlightened as they are, and under the influence of a Catholic clergy, a despotism is the proper government for them, but there is no reason why it should not be a wise and virtuous one.

Redemption, dictatorship, and exile



After some time in exile in the United States, and after meeting with U.S. president Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson was the seventh President of the United States . Based in frontier Tennessee, Jackson was a politician and army general who defeated the Creek Indians at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend , and the British at the Battle of New Orleans...

 in 1837, Santa Anna was allowed to return to Mexico aboard the USS Pioneer
USS Pioneer (1836)
The first USS Pioneer was most likely a barque in the United States Navy, although some reports classify her a frigate and others as a brig....

 to retire to his hacienda
Hacienda
Hacienda is a Spanish word for an estate. Some haciendas were plantations, mines, or even business factories. Many haciendas combined these productive activities...

 in Veracruz
Veracruz
Veracruz, formally Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave , is one of the 31 states that, along with the Federal District, comprise the 32 federative entities of Mexico. It is divided in 212 municipalities and its capital city is...

, called Manga de Clavo.

In 1838, Santa Anna had a chance for redemption from the loss of Texas
Republic of Texas
The Republic of Texas was an independent nation in North America, bordering the United States and Mexico, that existed from 1836 to 1846.Formed as a break-away republic from Mexico by the Texas Revolution, the state claimed borders that encompassed an area that included all of the present U.S...

. After Mexico rejected French demands for financial compensation for losses suffered by French citizens, France sent forces that landed in Veracruz, Mexico in the Pastry War
Pastry War
The Pastry War was an invasion of Mexico by French forces in 1838.-Background:The war arose from the widespread civil disorder that plagued the early years of the Mexican republic. In 1828, President Manuel Gómez Pedraza ejected Lorenzo de Zavala from the office of governor of the state of México...

. The Mexican government gave Santa Anna control of the army and ordered him to defend the nation by any means necessary. He engaged the French at Veracruz. During Mexican retreat after a failed assault, Santa Anna was hit in the leg and hand by cannon fire. His shattered ankle required amputation of much of his leg, which he ordered buried with full military honors. Despite Mexico's final capitulation to French demands, Santa Anna used his war service to re-enter Mexican politics as a hero. He never allowed Mexico to forget him and his sacrifice in defending the fatherland.

Santa Anna famously used a prosthetic
Prosthesis
In medicine, a prosthesis, prosthetic, or prosthetic limb is an artificial device extension that replaces a missing body part. It is part of the field of biomechatronics, the science of using mechanical devices with human muscle, skeleton, and nervous systems to assist or enhance motor control...

 cork leg; during the Mexican-American War, it was captured and kept by American troops. The false leg is displayed at the Illinois State Military Museum in Springfield
Springfield, Illinois
Springfield is the third and current capital of the US state of Illinois and the county seat of Sangamon County with a population of 117,400 , making it the sixth most populated city in the state and the second most populated Illinois city outside of the Chicago Metropolitan Area...

. The Mexican government has repeatedly asked for its return.

Soon after, as Bustamante
Anastasio Bustamante
Anastasio Bustamante y Oseguera was president of Mexico three times, from 1830 to 1832, from 1837 to 1839 and from 1839 to 1841. He was a Conservative. He first came to power by leading a coup against president Vicente Guerrero...

's presidency turned chaotic, supporters asked Santa Anna to take control of the provisional government. Santa Anna became president for the fifth time, taking over a nation with an empty treasury. The war with France had weakened Mexico, and the people were discontented. Also, a rebel army led by Generals Jose Urrea and José Antonio Mexía
José Antonio Mexía
José Antonio Mexía was an 18th-century Mexican politician. He claimed to have been born in Xalapa, Veracruz, but contradicting contemporary reports say he was a native of Cuba....

 was marching towards the capital in opposition to Santa Anna. Commanding the army, Santa Anna crushed the rebellion in Puebla
Puebla
Puebla officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Puebla is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 217 municipalities and its capital city is Puebla....

.

Santa Anna's rule was more dictatorial than his first administration. Anti-Santanista newspapers were banned and dissidents jailed. In 1842, he directed a military expedition into Texas
Dawson Massacre
The Dawson Massacre, also called the Dawson Expedition, was an incident during the Mexican Invasions of Texas, in which thirty-six Texan militiamen were killed by Mexican soldiers with artillery on September 17, 1842 near San Antonio de Bexar...

, which resulted in no gain but persuaded more Texans of the potential benefits of annexation
Texas Annexation
In 1845, United States of America annexed the Republic of Texas and admitted it to the Union as the 28th state. The U.S. thus inherited Texas's border dispute with Mexico; this quickly led to the Mexican-American War, during which the U.S. captured additional territory , extending the nation's...

 by the more powerful United States.

Trying to restore the treasury, Santa Anna raised taxes, but this aroused resistance. Several Mexican states stopped dealing with the central government, and Yucatán
Republic of Yucatán
The Republic of Yucatan was a nineteenth century sovereign state during two periods of the century. The first Republic of Yucatan, founded May 29, 1823, joined the Mexican federation as the Federated Republic of Yucatán on December 23, 1823, less than seven months later...

 and Laredo
Republic of the Rio Grande
The Republic of the Rio Grande was an independent nation that insurgents against the Central Mexican Government sought to establish in northern Mexico. The rebellion lasted from January 17 to November 6, 1840 and the Republic of the Rio Grande was never officially recognized.- Background :After a...

 declared themselves independent republics. With resentment growing, Santa Anna stepped down from power. Fearing for his life, he tried to elude capture, but in January 1845 he was apprehended by a group of Indians near Xico, Veracruz
Xico, Veracruz
Xico is a city located in the central part of the state of Veracruz. It produces coffee, tropical fruit, wine, handicrafts, and other products. It is 25 km from state capital Xalapa....

. They turned him over to authorities, and Santa Anna was imprisoned. His life was spared, but the dictator was exiled to Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

.

Mexican-American War



In 1846, the United States declared war on Mexico. Santa Anna wrote to Mexico City
Mexico City
Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

 saying he had no aspirations to the presidency, but would eagerly use his military experience to fight off the foreign invasion of Mexico as he had in the past. President Valentín Gómez Farías
Valentín Gómez Farías
Valentín Gómez Farías was several times acting President of Mexico in the 1830s and 1840s.Gomez Farias was one of the more important political figures in early Mexico. The first presidency of Santa Anna from 1833 to 1836 was a temporary victory for the Mexican Liberals...

 was desperate enough to accept the offer and allowed Santa Anna to return. Meanwhile, Santa Anna had secretly been dealing with representatives of the United States, pledging that if he were allowed back in Mexico through the U.S. naval blockades, he would work to sell all contested territory to the United States at a reasonable price. Once back in Mexico at the head of an army, Santa Anna reneged on both of these agreements. Santa Anna declared himself president again and unsuccessfully tried to fight off the United States invasion. (However, his actions did inspire the sea shanty
Sea shanty
A shanty is a type of work song that was once commonly sung to accompany labor on board large merchant sailing vessels. Shanties became ubiquitous in the 19th century era of the wind-driven packet and clipper ships...

 "Santianna
Santianna
"Santianna", also known as "Santiana", "Santy Anna", "Santayana", "Santiano", "Santy Anno" and other variations, is a sea shanty relating to the Mexican General Antonio López de Santa Anna. Supposedly, the last whaler to return to New Bedford hauled in to this tune...

".)

Later years


In 1851, Santa Anna went into exile in Kingston, Jamaica
Kingston, Jamaica
Kingston is the capital and largest city of Jamaica, located on the southeastern coast of the island. It faces a natural harbour protected by the Palisadoes, a long sand spit which connects the town of Port Royal and the Norman Manley International Airport to the rest of the island...

, and two years later, moved to Turbaco
Turbaco
Turbaco is a municipality in the Bolívar Department of Colombia. It is about 20 minutes from Cartagena de Indias and is one of Bolívar's most organized municipalities. Turbaco is known for its famous "Fiesta de Toros" in December to celebrate the new year. Currently the municipality is undergoing...

, Colombia. In April 1853, he was invited back by rebellious conservatives, with whom he succeeded in retaking the government. This reign was no better than his earlier ones. He funneled government funds to his own pockets, sold more territory to the United States (see Gadsden Purchase
Gadsden Purchase
The Gadsden Purchase is a region of present-day southern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico that was purchased by the United States in a treaty signed by James Gadsden, the American ambassador to Mexico at the time, on December 30, 1853. It was then ratified, with changes, by the U.S...

), and declared himself dictator for life with the title "Most Serene Highness". The Plan of Ayutla
Plan of Ayutla
The Plan of Ayutla was a plan aimed at removing Antonio López de Santa Anna as dictator of Mexico. Initially drafted on February 24, 1854, by Colonel Florencio Villarreal, it was proclaimed on March 1, 1854, in Ayutla, Guerrero...

 of 1854 removed Santa Anna from power.

Despite his generous payoffs to the military for loyalty, by 1855 even conservative allies had had enough of Santa Anna. That year a group of liberals led by Benito Juárez
Benito Juárez
Benito Juárez born Benito Pablo Juárez García, was a Mexican lawyer and politician of Zapotec origin from Oaxaca who served five terms as president of Mexico: 1858–1861 as interim, 1861–1865, 1865–1867, 1867–1871 and 1871–1872...

 and Ignacio Comonfort
Ignacio Comonfort
Ignacio Gregorio Comonfort de los Ríos was a Mexican politician and military officer who served as President of Mexico....

 overthrew Santa Anna, and he fled back to Cuba. As the extent of his corruption became known, he was tried in absentia for treason; all his estates were confiscated by the government.

Santa Anna lived in exile in Cuba, the United States, Colombia
Colombia
Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia , is a unitary constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments. The country is located in northwestern South America, bordered to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; to the north by the Caribbean Sea; to the...

, and St. Thomas
Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
Saint Thomas is an island in the Caribbean Sea and with the islands of Saint John, Saint Croix, and Water Island a county and constituent district of the United States Virgin Islands , an unincorporated territory of the United States. Located on the island is the territorial capital and port of...

. In 1869, 74-year-old Santa Anna was living in exile in Staten Island, New York. He was trying to raise money for an army to return and take over Mexico City. During his time in New York City, he is credited with bringing in the first shipments of chicle
Chicle
Manilkara chicle is a tropical evergreen tree native to Mexico and Central America. The tree ranges from Veracruz in Mexico south to Atlántico in Colombia...

, the base of chewing gum
Chewing gum
Chewing gum is a type of gum traditionally made of chicle, a natural latex product, or synthetic rubber known as polyisobutylene. For economical and quality reasons, many modern chewing gums use rubber instead of chicle...

. He failed to profit from this, since his plan was to use the chicle to replace rubber in carriage tires, which was tried without success. Thomas Adams
Thomas Adams (chewing gum maker)
Thomas Adams , was a 19th-century American scientist and inventor who is regarded as a founder of the chewing gum industry. He eventually joined with well-known chewing gum maker William Wrigley, Jr.....

, the American assigned to aid Santa Anna while he was in the United States, experimented with chicle in an attempt to use it as a substitute for rubber. He bought one ton of the substance from Santa Anna, but his experiments proved unsuccessful. Instead, Adams helped to found the chewing gum industry with a product that he called "Chiclets
Chiclets
Chiclets is a brand of candy coated chewing gum made by Cadbury Adams. The colors of chiclets are: yellow, green, orange, red, white, and pink. The product's name is derived from Nahuatl word tziktli, in English chicle, the substance from which chewing gum was traditionally made...

".

Santa Anna was a passionate fan of the sport of cockfight
Cockfight
A cockfight is a blood sport between two roosters , held in a ring called a cockpit. Cockfighting is now illegal throughout all states in the United States, Brazil, Australia and in most of Europe. It is still legal in several U.S. territories....

ing. He would invite breeders from all over the world for matches and is known to have spent tens of thousands of dollars on prize rooster
Rooster
A rooster, also known as a cockerel, cock or chanticleer, is a male chicken with the female being called a hen. Immature male chickens of less than a year's age are called cockerels...

s.

In 1874 he took advantage of a general amnesty and returned to Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

. Crippled and almost blind from cataracts, he was ignored by the Mexican government at the anniversary of the Battle of Churubusco
Battle of Churubusco
The Battle of Churubusco took place on August 20, 1847, in the immediate aftermath of the Battle of Contreras during the Mexican-American War. After defeating the Mexican army at Churubusco, the U.S. Army was only 5 miles away from Mexico City, the capital of the nation...

. Two years later, Santa Anna died in Mexico City on 21 June 1876.

Personal life


Santa Anna was a devoted collector of Napoleonic artifacts, and adopted the nickname the "Napoleon of the West" after the Telegraph and Texas Register
Telegraph and Texas Register
Telegraph and Texas Register was the second permanent newspaper in Texas. Originally conceived as the Telegraph and Texas Planter, the newspaper was renamed shortly before it began publication, to reflect its new mission to be "a faithful register of passing events"...

referred to him as such. His other nickname was "The Eagle."

Santa Anna married Inés García in 1825 and fathered four children—Guadalupe, Maria del Carmen, Manuel, and Antonio. One month after García's death in 1844, the 50-year-old Santa Anna married 15-year-old María Dolores de Tosta. The couple rarely lived together, with Tosta residing primarily in Mexico City, while Santa Anna's political and military activities took him around the country. They had no children, leading biographer Will Fowler to speculate that the marriage was either primarily platonic or that Tosta was infertile.

Several women claimed to have borne Santa Anna illegitimate children. In his will Santa Anna acknowledged and made provisions for four: Paula, María de la Merced, Petra, and José. Biographers have identified three more: Pedro López de Santa Anna, and Ángel and Augustina Rosa López de Santa Anna.

In popular culture

  • Santa Anna is one of the main characters in the 2004 movie The Alamo
    The Alamo (2004 film)
    The Alamo is a 2004 American war film about the Battle of the Alamo during the Texas Revolution. The film was directed by Texan John Lee Hancock, produced by Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, and Mark Johnson, and distributed by Touchstone Pictures....

    , portrayed by Emilio Echevarría
    Emilio Echevarría
    Emilio Echevarría is a Mexican actor. Internationally he is perhaps best known for appearing in a trio of films: Amores Perros , Y tu mamá también, and Babel .Echevarría also had small parts in two American productions, first as Raoul, a Cuban agent in the James Bond...

    . He is played by Raul Julia
    Raúl Juliá
    Raúl Rafael Juliá y Arcelay was a Puerto Rican actor.Born in San Juan, he gained interest in acting while still in school. Upon completing his studies, Juliá decided to pursue a career in acting. After performing in the local scene for some time, he was convinced by entertainment personality Orson...

     in the 1987 TV Movie "The Alamo: 13 days to Glory" and by J. Carrol Naish
    J. Carrol Naish
    Joseph Patrick Carrol Naish was an American character actor born in New York City. Naish was twice nominated for an Academy Award for film roles, and he later found fame in the title role of CBS Radio's Life With Luigi , which was also on CBS Television .Naish appeared on stage for several years...

     in the 1955 movie "The Last Command
    The Last Command (1955 film)
    The Last Command is a 1955 Trucolor film about Jim Bowie and the fall of the Alamo during the Texas War of Independence. Filmed by Republic Pictures, it was an unusually expensive undertaking for the low-budget studio.-Production:...

    ". In the 1960 film, directed by John Wayne
    John Wayne
    Marion Mitchell Morrison , better known by his stage name John Wayne, was an American film actor, director and producer. He epitomized rugged masculinity and became an enduring American icon. He is famous for his distinctive calm voice, walk, and height...

    , he was played by Ruben Padilla.
  • Santa Anna's artificial leg is featured in the King of The Hill
    King of the Hill
    King of the Hill is an American animated dramedy series created by Mike Judge and Greg Daniels, that ran from January 12, 1997, to May 6, 2010, on Fox network. It centers on the Hills, a working-class Methodist family in the fictional small town of Arlen, Texas...

    episode "The Final Shinsult," in which Cotton Hill
    Cotton Hill
    Colonel Cotton Lyndal Hill was an American fictional character in the animated series King of the Hill. He is the father of Hank Hill, Good Hank Hill or "G.H.", and Junichiro . He is also a World War II veteran who had his shins "blowed off by a Japanman's machine gun" in combat, and later had his...

     refers to him derisively as "Sanny Anny". (1998)
  • Santa Anna is also referred to as a military leader in the 1998 film The Mask of Zorro
    The Mask of Zorro
    The Mask of Zorro is a 1998 American swashbuckler film based on the Zorro character created by Johnston McCulley. It was directed by Martin Campbell and stars Antonio Banderas, Anthony Hopkins, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Stuart Wilson...

    , in which he was played by Joaquim de Almeida
    Joaquim de Almeida
    Joaquim António Portugal Baptista de Almeida is a Portuguese-born American actor. He began his acting doing some theater. During the 1980s, he started his film career appearing on the 1982 action film The Soldier, and later achieved recognition for playing Andrea Bonanno in the 1987 Italian film...

     in deleted scenes.
  • Santa Anna was mentioned by mexican group Molotov
    Molotov (band)
    Molotov is a four-time Latin Grammy Award-winning Mexican rock band formed in Mexico City on September 23, 1995. Their lyrics feature a mixture of Spanish and English, rapped and sung by all members of the group. Musically, Molotov blends heavy basslines with heavy guitar riffs...

     in their 2003 song "Frijolero
    Frijolero (song)
    Frijolero is a song from Molotov's 2003 record Dance and Dense Denso. Its lyrics comprise an exchange where characters trade racially loaded barbs at the Mexico–US border...

    " about the situation of discrimination between Mexico and the United States, and the life of immigrants crossing the frontier.

Further reading

  • Anderson, Fred & Cayton, Andrew, The Dominion of War, Viking Press; ISBN
  • Borroel, Roger (2nd edition, 2002); The Texas Revolution of 1836, La Villita Publications, ISBN 1-928792-09-X
  • César, José Manuel Villalpando; Las balas del invasor, Miguel Angel Porrua; ISBN
  • Crawford, Ann F.; The Eagle: The Autobiography of Santa Anna; State House Press; ISBN
  • Jackson, Jack & Wheat, John, Almonte's Texas, Texas State Historical Assoc.; ISBN
  • Mabry, Donald J., “Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna”, 2 November 2008.
  • Parkes, Henry Bamford. "A History of Mexico", Houghton Mifflin Company: Boston, MA. 1938.
  • Roberts, Randy & Olson, James S., A Line in the Sand, Simon & Schuster; ISBN
  • Santoni, Pedro; Mexicans at Arms-Puro Federalist and the Politics of War; TCU Press; ISBN
  • Suchlicki, Jaime. "Mexico: Montezuma to the Rise of Pan", Potomac Books: Washington DC, 1996.

External links


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