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),[1] often known as Santa Anna[2] or López de 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.[3] 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.


Early years

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 criollo middle class. 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 June 1810, Santa Anna at age 16 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.[4] There, he was under the command of Joaquín de Arredondo[citation needed].

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[5] during the campaign under Col. Arredondo in the town of Amoladeras, in the state of San Luis Potosí. In 1813, Santa Anna served in Texas against the Gutiérrez-Magee expedition, and at the Battle of Medina, 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 on his experience under Arredondo.

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