Antonio López de Santa Anna (Dictionary of World Biography: The 19th Century)
Article abstract: Santa Anna dominated Mexican life during the first forty years of its independence. While his many presidencies and other power struggles were endemic to his time, he bears the greatest responsibility for the loss of territory to the United States and for retarding the development of political maturity in Mexico.
Antonio López de Santa Anna was born on the family estate in Jalapa, Veracruz, in eastern Mexico during the last decades of the Spanish Empire in the Americas. His family, of Spanish origin, had only been in Mexico for a few years before his birth. This made Santa Anna a criollo (born in America but of Spanish origin), which would be a factor in deciding his future alliances. He had little formal education and did not get along well with his classmates when he was obliged to go to school. His only real interests from an early age were things military. In 1810, after a brief, failed attempt at a career in commerce in the city of Veracruz, Santa Anna joined a local regiment of the Spanish army as a cadet. He soon transferred to a cavalry regiment and spent the next four years helping to subdue rebellions against Spain in what is now northeastern Mexico. He was promoted twice in 1812 for his service.
In 1813 Santa Anna saw action in Texas against both Mexican and American rebels. This first encounter with American rebels and the “war to the death” tactics that...
(The entire section is 1997 words.)
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Antonio López de Santa Anna (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: Military significance: Santa Anna led Mexican troops at the conquest of the Alamo and at the decisive Mexican defeat at San Jacinto during the Texan War of Independence. He was later defeated at Buena Vista and Mexico City in the Mexican-American War.
Antonio López de Santa Anna began his military career in the Spanish army but then joined the Mexican revolutionaries in their quest for independence. He later gained national attention when he accepted the surrender of a Spanish force at Tampico in 1829. However, his first major military action was in the Texan War of Independence in which Santa Anna, then the president of Mexico, went into the field to lead his army successfully at the Alamo in 1836. This success did not last long, however, and at the decisive Battle of San Jacinto, also in 1836, the Texans caught his troops by surprise, winning a major victory and independence.
In 1847, during the Mexican-American War, Santa Anna returned from exile in Cuba to take command of the Mexican army. His troops fought well at Buena Vista (1847) in a losing cause but were thoroughly defeated at Chapultepec in the last battle of the war (1847). Disgraced once again, he went into exile but returned to die in obscurity of natural causes in 1876.
Lynch, John. “Santa Anna.” In Caudillos in Latin America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992, 316-365....
(The entire section is 259 words.)