Santa Anna was born in Jalapa, in the province of Veracruz on February 21, 1795.
At age 16, he began his military career fighting for the Spanish, but switched sides to
support Augustin de Iturbine as the main man of an independent Mexico. As a young
military officer, he supported Emperor Agustin de Iturbide, and at one time courted the
emperor's sister. He later rebelled against the government and gained support. By 1833,
he was elected to president of Mexico by a democratic election. He then thought that
Mexico was not ready for democracy and pronounced himself dictator.
In 1835, Texas, which was then a part of Mexico, revolted against the Mexican
government. The population of Texas included many settlers from the United States, and
cultural and legal differences between Mexicans and the settlers had led many Texans to
oppose Mexican rule. Santa Anna rushed north to put down the revolt. He attacked San
Antonio and stormed the Alamo in March 1836, with an army that outnumbered the
Texans. Santa Anna's troops captured the Alamo, and then met the main Texas army
under General Sam Houston at San Jacinto. Santa Anna's army was captured, and he was
taken prisoner. The Texans forced Santa Anna to sign a treaty acknowledging the
independence of Texas. But the treaty was rejected in Mexico City, and Santa Anna was
In 1838, the French attacked Veracruz. From 1841 to 1844, he was president of
Mexico again. In 1844, there was a revolt against him, and he fled to Jamaica. War broke
out with the United States in 1846. Santa Anna returned to Mexico and took command of
the army. The American forces defeated him at Buena Vista, at Cerro Gordo, and at
Chapultepec. After the fall of Mexico City, Santa Anna left Mexico for several years.
In 1853, he returned to Mexico and became president again. He declared himself
president for life but within two years was again