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 Santa Anna  1794 - 1876

 

 

1833 Election

 

  Reforms of Valentin Gomez Farias  

 

 Santa Anna becomes Centralist

 

 Changes of Santa Anna  

 

Revolt of Texas  

 

 Land Grants to Americans

 

 Outlaws

 

 Settlers discontent with Mexico

 

  Mexican Reaction  

 

 Fighting Begins  

 

Gonzales

 

Capture of Bexar  

 

 Battle of the Alamo  

 

 Goliad

 

  Houston retreats

 

 San Jacinto

 

Treaty of Velasco   

 

Republic of Yucatán and the Mayan Caste War  

 

 Republic of Rio Grande

 

The Pastry War

 

  President Again

 

  Exile and Death

 

 

 

1833 Election 

 

Santa Anna ( full name Antonio de Padua María Severino López de Santa Anna y Pérez de Lebrón ) won the election of 1833  as a liberal with the largest majority in history .The vice presidency went to Valentin Gomez Farias, a liberal politician  of intellectual distinction .Santa Anna chased after the presidency for at least a decade, but once he had it he soon wearied of it left the day to day running of the country to his vice president  while he retired to his estate of Manga de Clavo in Vera Cruz .He was President of Mexico on eleven non-consecutive ( 1833 multiple times  ,1834, 1835 ,1839 ,1841 - 1842 ,1843 - 1844 and 1847 ) occasions over a period of 22 years.

 

Valentin Gomez Farias

 

Reforms of Valentin Gomez Farias 

 

Farias, began with two major reforms , that of the church and that of the army . To curb the undue influence of the army, he reduced its size and abolished military fueros . The Church was told it should limit its sermons to spiritual matters . Education was to be taken out of the hands of the church .The University of Mexico was closed down because its faculty  was made up entirely of priests .The mandatory payments of tithes were made illegal . The total wealth of the church was estimated at 180 million pesos .Nuns and  priests were permitted to foreswear their vows . 

 

 

 Actor Mark Archuleta as Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna

 

Santa Anna becomes Centralist 

 

The Church , Army and other conservative groups banded together against these reforms .They appealed to Santa Anna who agreed to led the movement against his vice president and rescinded all of Farias reforms and dismissed him from office  . He declared that Mexico was not ready for democracy and set about to build a caudilloist state ( It is usually translated into English as "leader" or "chief," or, more pejoratively, warlord, "dictator" or "strongman". "Caudillo" was the term used to refer to charismatic populist leaders among the people ) .In order to secure power, Santa Anna cast away his former liberal ways and became a conservative centralist .

 

 Santa Anna of Mexico

 Drawing on archives in Mexico, Spain, Britain, and Texas as well as published sources, Fowler supplies a much-needed corrective to existing impressions of Santa Anna with this balanced and well-written work

 

 

Changes of Santa Anna 

 

Gran Teatro de Santa Anna

 

The old constitution of 1824 was done away with and a new one, the constitution of 1836 was enacted . The Siete Leyes (or Seven Laws) were enacted, in which only those with a certain level of income could vote or hold office .The congress was disbanded .The old federalists states were redrawn into larger military districts governed by political bosses loyal to Santa Anna. State militias were disbanded .The presidential term was extended from four years to eight .Santa Anna was moving to concentrate power . The presidency changed hands 36 times between 1833 and 1855 . The army grew larger at this time to a standing army of 90,000 and even though the country suffered under excessive taxation, the treasury was still bankrupt .Corruption was widespread. Santa Anna became a millionaire . His land holdings by 1845 totaled 483,000 acres .He threw gala balls and had opera houses and theaters built, such as the Gran Teatro de Santa Anna . His official title was ' his most serene highness ' and he also styled himself the " Napoleon of the West .' His busts and statues were to be found throughout Mexico .

 

 

 Presidency of Santa Anna and foreign intervention

 

Several states went into open rebellion after these acts of Santa Anna: Coahuila y Tejas, San Luis Potosí, Querétaro, Durango, Guanajuato, Michoacán, Yucatán, Jalisco, Nuevo León, Tamaulipas and Zacatecas. Several of these states formed their own governments, the Republic of the Rio Grande, the Republic of Yucatan, and the Republic of Texas.The Zacatecan militia, the largest and best supplied of the Mexican states, led by Francisco Garcia, was well armed with .753 caliber British 'Brown Bess' muskets and Baker .61 rifles. After two hours of combat, on 12 May 1835, the Santa Anna's "Army of Operations" defeated the Zacatecan militia and took almost 3,000 prisoners. Santa Anna allowed his army to ransack Zacatecas for forty-eight hours. After defeating Zacatecas, he planned to move on to Coahuila y Tejas

 

Revolt of Texas  October 2, 1835 to April 21, 1836

 

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Throughout the colonial period the vast territory of Texas ( 268,584 square miles ) was one of the northern colonial provinces of New Spain . The first Europeans in the area, the Franciscan missionaries and early Spanish settlers in the early to mid 1700s faced attacks by Apaches, Comanches and other Indian tribes .The territory was far from Mexico City a few settlers arrived .There were small towns in the interior, San Antonio, Nacogdoches, Goliad, and others, which dated from the time of the early Spanish colonization, or which had grown around the Missions established by the Franciscan friars for the conversion and civilization of the Indians .

 

 

 

 Lone Star Nation

 A well-written history of the Texas Revolution and the events leading up to it.

 

 

Stephen Austin

 

Land Grants to Americans 

 

Mexican Land Grant

 

At the beginning of the 1800s, there were only 7,000 settlers .Spain wished to colonize the territory, and in 1821 granted Moses Austin permission to settle as an empresarios with around 300 Catholic families in Texas.

 

 

 The Founding of Texas

 

In 1820 he set out for Texas. He was at first coldly received by Governor Martinez of San Antonio, but by the aid of the Baron de Bastrop, a Prussian officer, who had served under Frederick the Great, and was then in the service of Mexico, he obtained a favorable hearing on his proposition to settle a colony of emigrants from the United States in Texas. Austin's petition was forwarded to the central government, and he returned home. On the route he was robbed and stripped by his fellow-travelers, and, after great exposure and privation, subsisting for twelve days on acorns and pecan nuts, he reached the cabin of a settler near the Sabine River. He reached home in safety, and commenced his preparations for removal to Texas; but his exposure and privations had weakened him, and he died from the effects of a cold in his fifty-seventh year, leaving his dying injunction to his son, Stephen, to carry out his project.

 

Mexico became independent and Moses' son, Steven Austin was granted the same right and after advertising for settlers in New Orleans led 300 ( later called the ' old 300') families to settle a grant on the Brazos river .This was followed by a large influx of Americans entered Texas attracted by the cheap land ( ten cents an acre ) compared with $1.25  an acre in the US .Colonists were also given a 7 year exemption from taxes.

 

Life in the new land was rough, While at work they kept guard against the Indians, who roved about stealing the stock, at times making a night attack upon a cabin, or murdering and scalping some solitary herdsman or traveler. The Mexicans did nothing to protect or govern the colony. The settlers created a code of laws for the administration of justice and the settlement of civil disputes. The land titles were duly recorded, and a local militia was organized. Austin was the supreme authority, the judge and commandant .In 1827, New Orleans was abuzz with talk of the leagues of land that Mexico was giving to those who would colonize in Texas. By 1827 there were 12,000 Americans living in Texas. By 1835 there were 30,000 Americans and only around 8,000 Mexicans .

 

Outlaws 

 

Many criminals from Mexico and the United States fled to eastern Texas to escape justice . Fraudulent debtors who had chalked on their shutters the cabalistic letters " G. T. T."   Gone to Texas . The outlaws of the neutral ground organized themselves into bands, and fought over land titles and for political domination, and in 1826 commenced a war against the Mexican authorities under the leadership of Hayden Edwards, an empresario, whose contract had been annulled on account of the conflicts which had arisen between the claims of his colonists and the original Mexican inhabitants and squatters. This was called " The Fredonian War," was easily suppressed, Austin and his colonists taking part with the Mexican authorities.

 

Settlers discontent with Mexico 

 

The Mexican government believed the Americans could be integrated into Mexican society, but the societies were too different and tensions increased .Most Americans remained Protestant, even though they could go through the motions of being Catholic if questioned by Mexican officials and few bothered to learn Spanish .

 

One of the major grievances against Mexico by the Texans was that it was an appendage to the state of Coahuila  . There were eventually given 3 representatives in the state legislature ( out of 12 ) buy were easily outvoted by Coahuilans on important matters . Appellate courts were located in faraway Saltillo .The Americans  wanted Texas to be a separate state from Coahuila , but not independent from Mexico and to have its own capital. They believed a closer location for the capital would help to stem corruption and facilitate other matters of government.

 

Steven  Austin traveled to Mexico City with a petition asking for separate statehood from Coahuila. this was not approved and he wrote an angry letter to a friend, which seemed to suggest Texas should succeed from Mexico. The letter was intercepted and he spent 18 months in prison .

 

The Americans were also  becoming increasingly disillusioned with the Mexican government. Many of the Mexican soldiers garrisoned in Texas were convicted criminals who were given the choice of prison or serving in the army in Texas. Mexico did not protect Freedom of Religion, instead requiring colonists to pledge their acceptance of Roman Catholicism; Mexican Law required a "tithe" paid to the Catholic Church. The American settlers could not grow what crops they wished, but as other citizens of Mexico were required to do, grow which crops Mexican officials dictated , which were to be redistributed in Mexico. Growing cotton was lucrative at the time, but most settlers were not permitted to grow it and those that did were sometimes imprisoned .

 

Mexican Reaction 

 

The Mexican government had reasons to be anxious about the growing American population in Texas .President Adams and President Jackson had offered to buy the territory .There were a number of filibustering expeditions from the United States into Texas to set up an independent, the most famous of which was that of John Long of Tennessee who invaded Texas with a private army and seized Nacogdoches and declared himself president of the Republic of Texas .Long's army was later defeated by the Mexicans, but it event drew more support in the US for acquiring Texas .

 

The check immigration into Texas from America, which was mostly by Americans from the south with slaves, president Guerrero enacted the emancipation proclamation in 1829 . Most Americans converted their slaves into indentured servants for life to get around this . By 1836, there were approximately 5,000 slaves in Texas.

 

In 1830, all future immigration from America was forbidden by president Anastasio Bustamente, although  thousands continued to pour in through the porous borders . Bustamente also began preparations by making Texas a penal colony, by sending a thousand soldiers, mostly criminals and convicts, to stations in the country.

 

Santa Anna believed that the influx of American immigrants to Texas was part of a plot by the U.S. to take over the region. and the Mexican garrisons were strengthened .Mexico increased custom duties on exports, increasing the cost of trade with the US . Mexican colonization of Texas was encouraged .

 

The final straw for Americans in Texas was Santa Anna's annulment of the Federal Constitution of 1824 and feared they would lived under a tyrant with no representation at all .Many Americans began to argue that they should separate from Mexico, they were also supported by many Mexican liberals. The most active of these was Lorenzo de Zavala, leader of the Mexican Congress in 1823. The Texans choose independence and chose David Burnet as president and Zavala as vice president .

 

 

Causes of the Texas Revolution

 

Fighting Begins 

 

Much of Mexico led by the states of Yucatan, Zacatecas, and Coahuila, promptly rose in revolt of Santa Anna's actions. Santa Anna spent two years suppressing the revolts. Under the Liberal banner, the Mexican state of Zacatecas revolted against Santa Anna. The revolt was brutally crushed in May 1835. As a reward, Santa Anna allowed his soldiers two days of rape and pillage in the capital city of Zacatecas; civilians were massacred by the thousands. Santa Anna also looted the rich Zacatecan silver mines at Fresnillo.

 

He then ordered his brother-in law, General Martin Perfecto de Cos, to march into Texas and put an end to disturbances against the state.Most American settlers in Texas or Texicans, were on the whole loyal to Mexico before and few were members of the independence party . But after the annulling  of the Constitution of 1824, imprisonment of Austin and the news of what had happened at Zacatecas a majority supported the independence movement .

On September 20, General Cos landed at Copano with an advance force of about 300 soldiers bound for Goliad, San Antonio and San Felipe de Austin.

 

Austin was released in July, having never been formally charged with sedition, and was in Texas by August. Austin saw little choice but revolution. A consultation was scheduled for October to discuss possible formal plans to revolt, and Austin sanctioned it.

 

Gonzales 

 

Colonel Domingo Ugartechea, who was stationed in San Antonio, ordered the Texians to return a cannon given to them by Mexico that was stationed in Gonzales. The Texians refused. Ugartechea sent Lieutenant Francisco Castañeda and 100 dragoons to retrieve it. When he arrived at the rain-swollen banks of the Guadalupe River near Gonzales, there were just eighteen Texians to oppose him. Unable to cross, Castañeda established a camp, and the Texians buried the cannon and called for volunteers. Two Texian militias answered the call. Colonel John Henry Moore was elected head of the combined revolutionary militias, and they dug up the cannon and mounted it on a pair of cartwheels. A Coushatta Native American entered Castañeda’s camp and informed him that the Texians had 140 men.

 

 

 Come and Take It Cannon - The Birth of Texas

 

On October 1, 1835, at 7 p.m., the Texians headed out slowly and quietly to attack Castañeda’s dragoons. At 3 a.m. they reached the camp, and gunfire was exchanged. There were no casualties except for a Texian who had bloodied his nose when he fell off his horse during the skirmish. The next morning, negotiations were held, and the Texians urged Castañeda to join them in their revolt. Despite claiming sympathy for the Texian cause, he was shocked by the invitation to mutiny, and negotiations fell through. The Texians created a banner with a crude drawing of the disputed cannon and the words "Come and take it" written on it. Since they had no cannon balls, they filled it with scrap metal and fired it at the dragoons. They charged and fired their muskets and rifles, but Castañeda decided not to engage them and led the dragoons back to San Antonio. Thus the war had begun

 

Capture of Bexar  ( San Antonio )

 

General Martin Perfecto de Cos

 

Next, the Texans captured Bexar, under the defence of General Cos. When General Austin gave his army of volunteers the boring task of waiting for General Cos’ army to starve, many of the volunteers simply left. Throughout November 1835, the Texian army dwindled from 800 to 600 men, and the officers began to bicker about strategy and why they were fighting against the Mexicans. Several officers resigned, including Jim Bowie, who went to Gonzales. The siege of Bexar, which began on October 12, 1835, would demonstrate how little leadership the Texan "Army" had. Austin had been appointed Commander of all the Texan forces, but his talents were not well suited for military life.

 

The siege ended on December 11 with the capture of General Cos and his starving army, despite Austin's leadership. The Mexican prisoners were paroled and sent back to Mexico after being made to promise not to fight again.

The early victories of the Texans were greatly attributed to their effective hunting rifles, which could fire at distant targets and with more accuracy than the smooth bore muskets of the Mexican infantry.

 

The remaining Texan army, poorly led, and with no collective motivation, prepared to advance towards Matamoros, hoping to sack the town. Although the Matamoros Expedition, as it came to be known, was but one of many schemes to bring the war to Mexico, nothing came of it. On November 6, 1835, the Tampico Expedition under José Antonio Mexía left New Orleans, intending to capture the town from the Centralists. The expedition failed. These independent missions drained the Texan movement of supplies and men, bringing only disaster for months to come.

 

Battle of the Alamo 

 

 

 

 

Santa Anna decided to take the counter-offensive. General Cos informed Santa Anna of the situation in Texas, and the general proceeded to advance north with his Army of Operations, a force of about 6,000. The army had gathered in San Luis Potosí and soon marched across the deserts of Mexico during the worst winter recorded in that region. The army suffered hundreds of casualties, but it marched forward, arriving in Texas months before it was expected. Taking Bexar (San Antonio ), the political and military center of Texas, was Santa Anna's initial objective

 

 

 The battle of the Alamo

 

The defenders inside the Alamo awaited reinforcement. "At dawn on the first of March, Capt. Albert Martin, with 32 men (himself included) from Gonzales and DeWitt's Colony, passed the lines of Santa Anna and entered the walls of the Alamo, never more to leave them. These men, chiefly husbands and fathers, owning their own homes, voluntarily organized and passed through the lines of an enemy four to six thousand strong, to join 150 of their countrymen and neighbors, in a fortress doomed to destruction." No further reinforcement arrived.

 

 

 The Alamo - The real story

 On March 6, 1836 the 13-day siege of the Alamo ended. Among the dead were three men destined to become martyrs and heroes: David Crockett, James Bowie and William B. Travis. Cries of Remember the Alamo! would eventually fuel an American victory over Mexico. The Alamo and its defenders grew into enduring symbols of courage and sacrifice in the face of overwhelming odds.  Controversy has always been part of the history and legend of the Alamo. Whether they hold traditional or revisionist views, people are passionate about their opinions.

~Were Crockett, Travis and Bowie a "Holy Trinity" or less than perfect human beings?

~Why were Tejanos like Juan Seguin, who fought for Texas liberty alongside the Anglos, virtually ignored in history books until recently?

~How did Crockett die?

~Did Travis draw a line in the sand?

~How many defenders were really there, and how many attackers?

~Did everyone die, or were there survivors?

 

The Alamo was defended by about 183-189 men under the command of William Barret Travis and Jim Bowie. Most of the Alamo defenders were white men of Spanish ancestry. Numerous sick and wounded from the siege of Bexar, perhaps raising the Texan military total to around 250, as well as non-combatants were also reported present afterwards. The Battle of the Alamo ended on March 6 after a 13 day siege in which all Texan combatants were killed. The alcalde of San Antonio reported cremation of 182 defenders' bodies; one defender's burial by a Mexican army relative was allowed. Santa Anna's army casualties have been estimated as about 600 - 1000 troops—the quoted number of Mexican soldiers killed varies greatly. The defense of the Alamo proved to be of no military consequence for the Texan cause, but its martyrs were soon hailed as heroes. The most important result during this time was the 1836 Convention signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence from Mexico, on March 2.

 

Soon, Santa Anna divided his army and sent flying columns across Texas. The objective was to force a decisive battle over the Texan Army, now led by General Sam Houston.

 

Goliad 

 

 

General José Urrea marched into Texas from Matamoros, making his way north following the coast of Texas, thus preventing any foreign aid by sea and opening up an opportunity for the Mexican Navy to land much needed provisions. Urrea's forces were engaged at the Battle of Agua Dulce on March 2, 1836, which would soon lead to the Goliad Campaign. General Urrea was never defeated in any engagement his forces conducted in Texas.

 

 

General José Urrea was never defeated in battle during the Texas revolution

 

 

José Urrea

 

At Goliad, Urrea's flying column caught Colonel James Fannin's force of about 300 men on the open prairie at a slight depression near Coleto Creek and made three charges at a heavy cost in Mexican casualties. Overnight, Urrea's forces surrounded the Texans, brought up cannon and reinforcements, and induced Fannin's surrender under terms the next day, March 20. About 342 of the Texan troops captured during the Goliad Campaign were executed a week later on Palm Sunday, March 27, 1836, under Santa Anna's direct orders, widely known as the Goliad Massacre.

 

"The impact of the Goliad Massacre was crucial. Until this episode Santa Anna's reputation had been that of a cunning and crafty man, rather than a cruel one...together with the fall of the Alamo, branded both Santa Anna and the Mexican people with a reputation for cruelty and aroused the fury of the people of Texas, the United States, and even Great Britain and France, thus considerably promoting the success of the Texas Revolution .
 
 
Houston retreats 
 

Houston immediately understood that his small army was not prepared to fight Santa Anna out in the open. The Mexican cavalry, experienced and feared, was something the Texans could not easily defeat. Seeing that his only choice was to keep the army together enough to be able to fight on favorable grounds, Houston ordered a retreat towards the U.S. border, and many settlers also fled in the same direction. A scorched earth policy was implemented, denying much-needed food for the Mexican army. Soon, the rains made the roads impassable, and the cold season made the list of casualties grow in both armies.

 

Santa Anna's army, always on the heels of Houston, gave unrelenting chase. The town of Gonzales could not be defended by the Revolutionaries, so it was put to the torch. The same fate awaited Austin's colony of San Felipe. Despair grew among the ranks of Houston's men, and much animosity was aimed towards him. All that impeded Santa Anna's advance were the swollen rivers, which gave Houston a chance to rest and drill his army.

 

Events moved at a quick pace after Santa Anna decided to divide his own flying column and race quickly towards Galveston, where members of the Provisional Government had fled. Santa Anna hoped to capture the Revolutionary leaders, and put an end to the war, which had proven costly and prolonged. Santa Anna, as dictator of Mexico, felt the need to return to Mexico City as soon as possible. Houston was informed of Santa Anna's unexpected move. Numbering about 700, Santa Anna's column marched east from Harrisburg, Texas. Without Houston's consent, and tired of running away, the Texan army of 900 moved to meet the enemy. Houston could do nothing but follow. Accounts of Houston's thinking during these moves is subject to speculation as Houston held no councils of war.

 

Battle of San Jacinto 

 

 

On April 20, both armies met at the San Jacinto River. Separating them was a large sloping ground with tall grass, which the Texans used as cover. Santa Anna, elated at finally having the Texas Army in front of him, waited for reinforcements, which were led by General Cos. On that same day, a skirmish was fought between the enemies, mostly cavalry, but nothing came of it.

To the dismay of the Texans, Cos arrived sooner than expected with 540 more troops, swelling Santa Anna's army to over 1,200 men. Angered by the loss of opportunity and by Houston's indecisiveness, the Texas Army demanded to make an attack. About 3:30 in the afternoon on April 21, after burning Vince's Bridge, the Texans surged forward, catching the Mexican army by surprise. Hours before the attack, Santa Anna had ordered his men to stand down, noting that the Texans would not attack his superior force. Also, his army had been stretched to the limit of endurance by the ongoing forced marches. His force was overwhelmed by Texians pushing into the Mexican camp. An 18-minute-long battle ensued, but soon the defenses crumbled and a massacre ensued.

 

 

 On April 21, 1836, Texas won its independence when an outnumbered Texas Army defeated Mexican forces on the plains of San Jacinto. The monument built in remembrance of the battle stands on the flat Texas wetlands along the Houston ship channel. It is one of the most recognizable symbols of the history of Texas, a soaring monument to commemorate a small battle with huge consequences

 

Popular folk songs and legends hold that during the battle, Santa Anna was busy with and was distracted by a comely mixed race indentured servant, immortalized as 'The Yellow Rose of Texas.'

 

Santa Anna's entire force of men was killed or captured by Sam Houston's heavily outnumbered army of Texans; only nine Texans died. This decisive battle resulted in Texas's independence from Mexico.

Santa Anna was captured when he could not cross the burned Vince's Bridge, and he was brought before Houston, who had been wounded in the ankle. Santa Anna agreed to end the campaign. General Vicente Filisola, noting the state of his tired and hungry army, marched back to Mexico, but not without protests from Urrea. Only Santa Anna had been defeated, not the Army of Operations, and Urrea felt that the campaign should continue, but Filisola disagreed.

 

Treaty of Velasco 

 

Santa Anna surrenders at San Jucinto

 

 

With Santa Anna a prisoner, his captors forced him to sign the Treaties of Velasco ( one public, one private ) on May 14. The public treaty was that he would not take up arms against the republic of Texas .The private treaty was to recognize Texas's independence . The initial plan was to send him back to Mexico to help smooth relations between the two states. His departure was delayed by a mob who wanted him dead. Declaring himself as the only person who could bring about peace, Santa Anna was sent to Washington, D.C., by the Texan government to meet President Jackson in order to guarantee independence of the new republic. But unknown to Santa Anna, the Mexican government deposed him in absentia; thus, he no longer had any authority to represent Mexico.

After some time in exile in the United States, and after meeting with U.S. president Andrew Jackson in 1837, he was allowed to return to Mexico aboard the USS Pioneer to retire to his magnificent hacienda in Veracruz, called Manga de Clavo.

 

When Santa Anna returned to Mexico, the Mexican legislature declared the treaties null and void since they were signed while the president was prisoner . Mexico was too disturbed by its own internal troubles to mount a serious invasion of Texas .

 

Texas became a republic after a long and bloody fight, but it was never recognized as such by Mexico. The war continued as a standoff.

Santa Anna re-emerged as a hero during the Pastry War in 1838. He was re-elected President, and soon after, he ordered an expedition led by General Adrian Woll, a French soldier of fortune,  into Texas, occupying San Antonio, but briefly. There were small clashes between the two states for several years afterward. The war with Texas did not truly come to an end until the Mexican-American War of 1846.

 

In 1838, Santa Anna discovered a chance to redeem himself from his Texan loss, when French forces landed in Veracruz, Mexico

 Republic of Yucatán   and the Republic of Rio Grande

 

After Santa Anna annulled the Federalist constitution of 1824, they were many revolts against the centralisation of power, two actually formed republic besides Texas, the Yucatan and the Mexican states of Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas formed the Republic of Rio Grande .  

 

Republic of Yucatán and the Mayan Caste War  1847 - 1849

 

Flag of the Republic of Yucatán

 

In 1840, the local Yucatan Congress approved a declaration of independence. Santa Anna refused to recognize Yucatán's independence, and he barred Yucatán ships and commerce in Mexico and ordered Yucatán's ports blockaded. He sent an army to invade Yucatán in 1843. The Yucatecans defeated the Mexican force, but the loss of economic ties to Mexico deeply hurt Yucatán commerce. Yucatan became part of Mexico again in 1843 .the central government rescinded earlier concessions and in 1845 Yucatán again renounced the Mexican government, declaring independence effective 1 January 1846.

 

 

 Maya Caste War Museum Museo de la Guerra de Castas, Tihosuco, Mexico

 

 

 Mayan Caste War

 

Cult of the speaking Cross

 

When the Mexican-American War broke out, Yucatán declared its neutrality.In 1847 the so-called "Caste War" (Guerra de Castas) broke out, a major revolt of the Maya people against the misrule of the Hispanic population in political and economic control. When Mexico was preoccupied with the war with America, many Maya united under the Mayan-Christian cult of the Speaking Cross to reclaim there land from the whites (dzul ) .This was a cult of a cross carved in a tree in the Yucatan that bore a resemblance to the Maya tree of life, La Ceiba .The Mayans took over the peninsula and almost took the last white stronghold of Merida, when the Mayans abandoned the fight to plant .By 1855, the whites had retaken most of the Yucatán, but some parts remained in control of the cult of the Speaking Cross until the early 20th century .

 

The government in Mérida appealed for foreign help in suppressing the revolt, with Governor Méndez taking the extraordinary step of sending identical letters to Britain, Spain, and the United States, offering sovereignty over Yucatán to whatever nation first provided sufficient aid to quash the Maya revolt. The proposal received serious attention in Washington, D.C.: the Yucatecan ambassador was received by US President James K. Polk and the matter was debated in the Congress; ultimately, however, no action was taken other than an invocation of the Monroe Doctrine to warn off any European power from interfering in the peninsula.

After the end of the Mexican-American War, Governor Barbachano appealed to Mexican President José Joaquín de Herrera for help in suppressing the revolt, and in exchange Yucatán again recognized the central government's authority. Yucatán was again reunited with Mexico on 17 August 1848.

Republic of Rio Grande 1840

 

The Republic of Rio Grande flag

 

On January 17, 1840 a constitutional convention was held at the Oreveña Ranch near Laredo. Here it was decided that the Mexican states of Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas would withdraw themselves from Mexico and would form their own federal republic with Laredo as the capital. After the loss the Battle of Morales  the republic moved its capital to Victoria, Texas . There was support from the new Republic of Texas for the Republic of the Rio Grande and 140 Texans joined the republics army .In November, representatives of Generals Canales and Arista met to discuss the war. During this meeting, the Mexican government offered General Canales the position of brigadier general in the Mexican army in exchange for his abandoning the cause of the Republic of the Rio Grande. General Canales accepted the offer on November 6. Upon this event, the Republic of the Rio Grande failed.

The Pastry War 

 

In 1838, France demanded compensation for a French pastry chef  whose stock was eaten by Mexican troops in 1828. For years Mexico failed to resolve the matter and France demanded 600,000 pesos in payment and when payment.  Mexico had also defaulted on millions of dollars worth of loans from France. Diplomat Baron Deffaudis gave Mexico an ultimatum to pay, or the French would demand satisfaction. When the payment was not forthcoming from president Anastasio Bustamante (1780–1853), the king sent a fleet under Rear Admiral Charles Baudin to declare a blockade of all Mexican ports from Yucatán to the Rio Grande, to bombard the Mexican fortress of San Juan de Ulúa, and to seize the port of Veracruz. Virtually the entire Mexican Navy was captured at Veracruz by December 1838. Mexico declared war on France. France blockaded Vera Cruz with 26 ships and 4,000 troops . Mexico agreed to pay, but France upped the ante to 800,000 pesos for the cost of the blockading fleet. This was too much for the Mexicans, who sent a few thousand troops to the old fortress of San Juan de Ulua . Thus began the Pastry War .Santa Anna arrived on December 4 . The French landed 3,000 troops and Santa Anna personally led the troops in the street fighting that followed .Santa Anna was wounded in the left leg and had his leg amputated below the knee .The French were driven back to their ships and agreed to their earlier demand of 600,000 pesos.Santa Anna was able to use his wound to re-enter Mexican politics as a hero.

 

 The Pastry War: Every 5 Days

 

President Again 

Soon after, Santa Anna was once again asked to take control of the provisional government as Bustamante's presidency turned chaotic. Santa Anna accepted and became president for the fifth time. Santa Anna took 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 was marching towards the Capital, at war against Santa Anna. The rebellion was crushed at the Battle of Mazatlán, by an army commanded by the president himself.

Santa Anna's rule was even more dictatorial than his first administration. Anti-Santanista newspapers were banned and dissidents jailed. In 1842, a military expedition into Texas was renewed, with no gain but to further persuade the Texans of the benefits of American annexation.

Exile and Death

His demands for ever greater taxes aroused ire, and several Mexican states simply stopped dealing with the central government, Yucatán and Laredo going so far as to declare themselves independent republics. With resentment ever growing against the president, Santa Anna once again stepped down from power. Fearing for his life, Santa Anna tried to elude capture, but in January 1845 he was apprehended by a group of Indians near Xico, Veracruz, turned over to authorities, and imprisoned. His life was spared, but the dictator was exiled to Cuba.

 In 1846, the United States declared war on Mexico. Santa Anna wrote to Mexico City saying he no longer had 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 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.

 

In 1851, Santa Anna went into exile in Kingston, Jamaica, and two years later, moved to Turbaco, 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), and declared himself dictator for life with the title "Most Serene Highness". The Ayutla Rebellion of 1854 once again removed Santa Anna from power.

Despite his generous payoffs to the military for loyalty, by 1855 even his conservative allies had enough of Santa Anna. That year a group of liberals led by Benito Juárez and Ignacio Comonfort overthrew Santa Anna, and he fled back to Cuba. As the extent of his corruption became known he was tried in absentia for treason and all his estates confiscated. He then lived in exile in Cuba, the United States, Colombia, and St. Thomas. During his time in New York City he is credited as bringing the first shipments of chicle, the base of chewing gum, to the United States, but 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. The American assigned to aid Santa Anna while he was in the United States, Thomas Adams, conducted experiments with the chicle and called it "Chiclets," which helped found the chewing gum industry. Santa Anna was a passionate fan of the sport of cockfighting. He would invite breeders from all over the world for matches and is known to have spent tens of thousands of dollars on prize roosters.

In 1874 he took advantage of a general amnesty and returned to Mexico. Crippled and almost blind from cataracts, he was ignored by the Mexican government when the anniversary of the Battle of Churubusco occurred. Santa Anna died in Mexico City two years later, on June 21, 1876, penniless and heartbroken.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Early Mexican Republic
1822-33

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Prelude to the Mexican American War 1846-4