Antonio de Padua María Severino López de Santa Anna y Pérez de Lebrón, often know as Santa Anna, was a Mexican political leader, general, and president who greatly influenced early Mexican and Spanish politics and government Santa Anna first fought against the independence from Spain, and then supported it. He was not the first caudillo (military leader) of Mexico,but he was among the most original. He rose to the ranks of general and president at various times over a turbulent 40-year career. He was President of Mexico on eleven non-consecutive occasions over a period of 22 years.
Santa Anna was a devoted collector of Napoleonic artifacts, and adopted the nickname the "Napoleon of the West" after the Telegraph and Texas Register 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 tookhim around the country. While they were married until the end of his life, they rarely lived together. 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 laMerced, Petra, and José. Biographers have identified three more: Pedro López de Santa Anna, and Ángel and Augustina Rosa López de Santa Anna.
Santa Anna was born in Jalapa, Veracruz, Nueva España (New Spain) on February 21, 1794. He was the son of a respected Spanish colonial family, and he and his parents, Antonio López de Santa Anna and Manuela Pérez de Lebrón, belonged to the Creole middleclass. They were wealthy enough to send their son to school. His father served for a time as a sub-delegate for the Spanish province of Veracruz.
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 nationalistrebels. In 1821, Santa Anna declared his loyalty for El Libertador (The Liberator): the future Emperor of Mexico, Agustín de Iturbide. 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 timecontinued gambling.
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 SantaAnna went over to the camp of military leaders supporting the plan to overthrow Iturbide. In December 1822 Santa Anna and General Guadalupe Victoria signed the Plan de Casa Mata to abolish the monarchy and transform Mexico into a republic. 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 GuadalupeVictoria signed the Plan de Casa Mata to abolish the monarchy and transform Mexico into a republic.
President Pedraza convened Congress. It elected Santa Anna as President on April 1, 1833. President Santa Anna appointed Valentín Gómez Farías 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 Roman...