Antonio López de Santa Anna
Antonio de Padua María Severino López de Santa Anna y Pérez de Lebrón (21 February 1794 – 21 June 1876), also known simply as Santa Anna, was a Mexican political leader who greatly influenced early Mexican and Spanish politics and government, first fighting against independence from Spain, and then becoming its chief general and president at various times over a turbulent forty-year career.
Antonio López was born in Xalapa, Veracruz, on February 21, 1794, the son of Antonio López de Santa Anna and Manuela Pérez de Lebrón. His family belonged to the criollo middle class, and his father served at one time as a subdelegate for the Spanish province of Veracruz. After a limited schooling the young Santa Anna worked for a merchant of Veracruz. In June 1810 he was appointed a cadet in the Fijo de Vera Cruz infantry regiment under the command of José Joaquín de Arredondo. Santa Anna spent the next years battling insurgents and policing the Indian tribes of the Provincias Internas. Like most criollo officers in the Royalist army, he remained loyal to Spain for a number of years and fought against the movement for Mexican independence.
In 1810, the same year that Mexico declared its independence from Spain, the sixteen-year-old joined the colonial Spanish Army under commanding officer José Joaquín de Arredondo, who taught him much about dealing with Mexican nationalist rebels. In 1811, Santa Anna was wounded in the arm by a Chichimec arrow while on campaign against northern Indian tribes. In 1813 he served in Texas against the Gutiérrez/Magee Expedition, and at the Battle of Medina he was cited for bravery. In the aftermath of the rebellion the young officer witnessed Arredondo's fierce counterinsurgency policy of mass executions, and historians have speculated that Santa Anna modeled his policy and conduct in the Texas Revolution on his experience under Arredondo.
During the next few years, in which the war for...