Antonio López de Santa Anna
Antonio López in 1870, photographed by George G. Rockwood
|8th President of the United Mexican States|
20 April 1853 – 9 August 1855
|Preceded by||Manuel María Lombardini|
|Succeeded by||Martín Carrera|
20 May 1847 – 15 September 1847
|Preceded by||Pedro María de Anaya|
|Succeeded by||Manuel de la Peña y Peña|
21 March 1847 – 2 April 1847
|Preceded by||Valentín Gómez Farías|
|Succeeded by||Pedro María de Anaya|
|President of Mexican Republic|
4 June 1844 – 12 September 1844
|Preceded by||Valentín Canalizo|
|Succeeded by||José Joaquín de Herrera|
4 March 1843 – 8 November 1843
|Preceded by||Nicolás Bravo|
|Succeeded by||Valentín Canalizo|
10 October 1841 – 26 October 1842
|Preceded by||Francisco Javier Echeverría|
|Succeeded by||Nicolás Bravo|
20 March 1839 – 10 July 1839
|Preceded by||Anastasio Bustamante|
|Succeeded by||Nicolás Bravo|
|President of the United Mexican States|
24 April 1834 – 27 January 1835
|Preceded by||Valentín Gómez Farías|
|Succeeded by||Miguel Barragán|
27 October 1833 – 15 December 1833
|Preceded by||Valentín Gómez Farías|
|Succeeded by||Valentín Gómez Farías|
18 June 1833 – 5 July 1833
|Preceded by||Valentín Gómez Farías|
|Succeeded by||Valentín Gómez Farías|
17 May 1833 – 4 June 1833
|Preceded by||Valentín Gómez Farías|
|Succeeded by||Valentín Gómez Farías|
|Vice President of Mexican Republic|
16 April 1837 – 17 March 1839
|Preceded by||Valentin Gomez Farias|
|Succeeded by||Nicolas Bravo|
|Born||21 February 1794|
Xalapa, Veracruz, Viceroyalty of New Spain (now Mexico)
|Died||21 June 1876 (aged 82)|
Mexico City, Mexico
|Resting place||Panteón del Tepeyac, Mexico City|
|Spouse(s)||María Inés de la Paz García|
(1825–1844); her death
María de los Dolores de Tosta
(1844–1876); his death
Order of Charles III|
Order of Guadalupe
Kingdom of Spain |
United Mexican States
|Years of service||1810–1855|
Antonio de Padua María Severino López de Santa Anna y Pérez de Lebrón (Spanish pronunciation: [anˈtonjo ˈlopes ðe sant(a)ˈana]; 21 February 1794 – 21 June 1876),  often known as Santa Anna  or López de Santa Anna, was a Mexican politician and general who fought to defend royalist New Spain and then for Mexican independence. He greatly influenced early Mexican politics and government, and was an adept soldier and cunning politician, who dominated Mexican history in the first half of the nineteenth century to such an extent that historians often refer to it as the "Age of Santa Anna".  He was called "the Man of Destiny", who "loomed over his time like a melodramatic colossus, the uncrowned monarch."  Santa Anna first opposed the movement for Mexican independence from Spain, but then fought in support of it. Though not the first caudillo (military leader) of modern Mexico, he "represents the stereotypical caudillo in Mexican history," and among the earliest.   Conservative historian, intellectual, and politician Lucas Alamán wrote that "The history of Mexico since 1822 might accurately be called the history of Santa Anna's revolutions.... His name plays the major role in all the political events of the country and its destiny has become intertwined with his." 
An enigmatic, patriotic and controversial figure, Santa Anna had great power in Mexico; during a turbulent 40-year career, he served as general at crucial points and served twelve non-consecutive presidential terms over a period of 22 years. [a] In the periods of time when he was not serving as president, he continued to pursue his military career.  A wealthy landowner, he built a firm political base in the major port city of Veracruz. He was perceived as a hero by his troops; he sought glory for himself and his army, and independent Mexico. He repeatedly rebuilt his reputation after major losses. Historians and many Mexicans also rank him as perhaps the principal inhabitant even today of Mexico's pantheon of "those who failed the nation."  His centralist rhetoric and military failures resulted in Mexico losing just over half its territory, beginning with the Texas Revolution of 1836, and culminating with the Mexican Cession of 1848 following its defeat by the United States in the Mexican–American War.
His political positions changed frequently in his lifetime; "his opportunistic politics made him a Liberal, Conservative, and uncrowned king."  He was overthrown for the final time by the liberal Revolution of Ayutla in 1854 and lived most of his later years in exile.
- 1 Early life and education
- 2.1 Military career during the War of Independence, 1810–1821
- 2.2 Rebellion against the Mexican Empire of Iturbide, 1822–1823
- 2.3 Santa Anna and the early Mexican Republic
- 2.4 First presidency of Santa Anna, 1833–1835
- 2.5 Santa Anna and the Central Republic, 1835
- 2.6 Texas Revolution 1835–1836
- 2.7 Redemption, dictatorship, and exile
- 2.8 Mexican–American War, 1846–1848
- 2.9 President for the last time
- 3 Personal life
- 4 Later years and death
- 5 See also
- 6 Note
- 7 References
- 8 Further reading
- 9 External links
Antonio de Padua María Severino López de Santa Anna y Pérez de Lebrón was born in Xalapa, Veracruz, Nueva España (New Spain), on 21 February 1794. He was from a respected Spanish colonial family; he and his parents, Antonio López de Santa Anna and Manuela Pérez de Lebrón, belonged to the elite criollo racial group of American-born Spaniards. His father was a royal army officer perpetually in debt,  and served for a time as a sub-delegate for the Gulf Coast Spanish province of Veracruz. However, his parents were wealthy enough to send him to school.
In June 1810, the 16-year-old Santa Anna 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.  In September 1810, secular cleric Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla rebelled against Spanish rule, sparking a spontaneous mass movement in Mexico's rich agricultural area, the Bajío. The Mexican War of Independence was to last until 1821, and Santa Anna, like most creole military men, fought for the crown against the mixed-raced insurgents for independence. Santa Anna's commanding officer was José Joaquín de Arredondo, who taught him much about dealing with Mexican rebels. In 1811, Santa Anna was wounded in the left hand by an arrow  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.
During the next few years, in which the war for independence reached a stalemate, Santa Anna erected villages for displaced citizens near the city of Veracruz. He also pursued gambling, a habit that would follow him all through his life. In 1816, Santa Anna was promoted to captain. He conducted occasional campaigns to suppress Native Americans or to restore order after a tumult had begun.
When royalist officer Agustín de Iturbide changed sides in 1821 and allied with insurgent Vicente Guerrero, fighting for independence under the Plan of Iguala, Santa Anna also joined the fight for independence.  The changed circumstances in Spain, where liberals had ousted Ferdinand VII and began implementing the Spanish liberal constitution of 1812, made many elites in Mexico reconsider their options. The clergy in New Spain would have lost power under the Spanish liberal regime and new Mexican clerics saw independence as a way to maintain their position in an autonomous Mexico. Santa Anna rose to prominence fighting for independence by quickly driving Spanish forces out of the vital port city of Veracruz and Iturbide rewarded him with the rank of general.
Iturbide rewarded Santa Anna with command of the vital port of Veracruz, the gateway from the Gulf of Mexico to the rest of the nation and site of the customs house. However, Iturbide subsequently removed Santa Anna from the post, prompting Santa Anna to rise in rebellion in December 1822 against Iturbide. Santa Anna already had significant power in his home region of Veracruz, and "he was well along the path to becoming the regional caudillo."  Santa Anna claimed in his Plan of Veracruz that he rebelled because Iturbide had dissolved the Constituent Congress. He also promised to support free trade with Spain, an important principle for his home region of Veracruz.  
Although Santa Anna's initial rebellion was important, Iturbide had loyal military men who were able to hold their own against the rebels in Veracruz. However, former insurgent leaders Vicente Guerrero and Nicolás Bravo, who had supported Iturbide's Plan de Iguala, now returned to their southern Mexico base and raised a rebellion against Iturbide. Then the commander of imperial forces in Veracruz, who had fought against the rebels, changed sides and joined the rebels. The new coalition proclaimed the Plan of Casa Mata, which called for the end of the monarchy, restoration of the Constituent Congress, and creation of a republic and a federal system. 
Santa Anna was no longer the main player in the movement against Iturbide and the creation of new political arrangements. He sought to regain his position as leader and marched forces from Veracruz to Tampico, then to San Luis Potosí, proclaiming his role as the "protector of the federation". San Luis Potosí, and other north-central regions, Michoacán, Querétaro, and Guanajuato met to decide their own position about federation. Santa Anna pledged his military forces to the protection of these key areas. "He attempted, in other words, to co-opt the movement, the first of many examples in his long career where he placed himself as the head of a generalized movement so it would become an instrument of his advancement." 
In May 1823, following Iturbide's March resignation, Santa Anna was sent to command in Yucatán. At the time, Yucatán's capital of Mérida and the port city of Campeche were in conflict. Yucatán's closest trade partner was Cuba, still a Spanish colony. Santa Anna took it upon himself to plan a landing force from Yucatán in Cuba, which he envisioned would result in Cuban colonists welcoming their liberators and most especially Santa Anna. A thousand Mexicans were already on ships to sail to Cuba when word came that the Spanish were reinforcing their colony, so the invasion was called off. 
Guadalupe Victoria became the first president of the Mexican republic in 1824, following the creation of the Federalist Mexican Constitution of 1824. Guadalupe Victoria came to the presidency with little factional conflict and he served out his entire four-year term. However, the election of 1828 was quite different, with considerable political conflict in which Santa Anna became involved. Even before the election, there was unrest in Mexico, with some conservatives affiliated with the Scottish Rite Masons plotting rebellion. The so-called Montaño rebellion in December 1827 called for the prohibition of secret societies, implicitly meaning liberal York Rite Masons, and the expulsion of the U.S. minister in Mexico, Joel Roberts Poinsett, a promoter of federal republicanism in Mexico. Although Santa Anna was believed to be a supporter of the Scottish Rite conservatives, in the Montaño rebellion eventually he threw his support to the liberals. In his home state of Veracruz, the governor had thrown his support to the rebels, and in the aftermath of the rebellion's failure, Santa Anna as vice-governor stepped into the governorship. 
In 1828, Santa Anna supported hero of the insurgency, Vicente Guerrero, who was a candidate for the presidency. Another important liberal, Lorenzo de Zavala, also supported Guerrero. Manuel Gómez Pedraza won the indirect elections for the presidency, with Guerrero coming in second. Even before all the votes had been counted in September 1828, Santa Anna rebelled against the election results in support of Guerrero. Santa Anna issued a plan at Perote that called for the nullification of the election results, as well for a new law expelling Spanish nationals from Mexico, believed to be in league with Mexican conservatives. Santa Anna's rebellion initially had few supporters, southern Mexican leader Juan Álvarez joined Santa Anna's rebellion, and Lorenzo de Zavala, governor of the state of Mexico, under threat of arrest by the conservative Senate, fled to the mountains and organized his own rebellion against the federal government. Zavala brought the fighting into the capital, with his supporters seizing an armory, the Acordada. In these circumstances, president-elect Gómez Pedraza resigned and soon after left the country. This cleared the way for Guerrero to become president of Mexico. Santa Anna gained prominence as a national leader in his role to oust Gómez Pedraza and as a defender of federalism and democracy.  An explanation for Santa Anna's support of Guerrero is that Gómez Pedraza had been in favor of Santa Anna's proposed invasion of Cuba, if successful, and if not, "Mexico might rid himself of an undesirable pest, namely Santa Anna." 
In 1829, Santa Anna made his mark in the early republic by leading forces that defeated a Spanish invasion to reconquer Mexico. Spain made a final attempt to retake Mexico, invading Tampico with a force of 2,600 soldiers. Santa Anna marched against the Barradas Expedition with a much smaller force and defeated the Spaniards, many of whom were suffering from yellow fever. The defeat of the Spanish army not only increased Santa Anna's popularity, but also consolidated the independence of the new Mexican republic. Santa Anna was declared a hero. From then on, he styled himself "The Victor of Tampico" and "The Savior of the Motherland". His main act of self-promotion was to call himself "The Napoleon of the West".
In a December 1829 coup, Vice-President Anastasio Bustamante rebelled against President Guerrero, who left the capital to lead a rebellion in southern Mexico. On 1 January 1830, Bustamante took over the presidency. In 1832, a rebellion started against Bustamante, which was intended to install Manuel Gómez Pedraza (who had been elected in 1828 and unseated in a coup that year). The rebels offered the command to Gen. Santa Anna. The capture of Guerrero and his summary trial and execution in 1831 was a shocking event to the nation. The conservatives in power were tainted by the execution.
In August 1832, Bustamante temporarily appointed Melchor Múzquiz to the post of president. He moved against the rebels and defeated them at Gallinero. Forces from Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato, and Puebla marched to meet the forces of Santa Anna, who were approaching the town of Puebla. After two more battles, Bustamante, Gómez Pedraza, and Santa Anna signed the Agreement of Zavaleta (21–23 December 1832) to install Gómez Pedraza as president. Bustamante went into exile. Santa Anna accompanied the new president on 3 January 1833 and joined him in the capital.
Santa Anna was elected president on 1 April 1833, but while he desired the title, he was not interested in governing. "It annoyed him and bored him, and perhaps frightened him."  Santa Anna's vice president, liberal Dr. Valentín Gómez Farías took over the responsibility of the governing of the nation. Santa Anna retired to his Veracruz hacienda, Manga de Clavo. Gómez Farías began to implement radical liberal reforms, chiefly directed at the power of the army and the Roman Catholic Church. Such reforms as abolishing tithing as a legal obligation, and the seizure of church property and finances, caused concern among Mexican conservatives.  Gómez Farías also sought to extend these reforms to the frontier province of Alta California, promoting legislation to secularize the Franciscan missions there. In 1833 he organized the Híjar-Padrés colony to bolster non-mission civilian settlement. A secondary goal of the colony was to help defend Alta California against perceived Russian colonial ambitions from the trading post at Fort Ross. 
For conservatives, the liberal reform of Gómez Farías was radical and undermined elites' power. Many historians consider Santa Anna's actions in allowing this first reform (followed by a more sweeping one in 1855 with the ouster of Santa Anna) a test case. Santa Anna could be watchful and wait to see the reaction to a comprehensive attack on the special privileges of the army and the Roman Catholic Church (fueros), as well as confiscation of church wealth. Conservatives sought to reassert power.
In May 1834, Santa Anna ordered disarmament of the civic militia. He suggested to Congress that they should abolish the controversial Ley del Caso, under which the liberals' opponents had been sent into exile.  The Plan of Cuernavaca, published on 25 May 1834, called for repeal of the liberal reforms.  On 12 June, Santa Anna dissolved Congress and announced his decision to adopt the Plan of Cuernavaca.  Santa Anna formed a new Catholic, centralist, conservative government. In 1835, it replaced the 1824 constitution with the new constitutional document known as the " Siete Leyes" ("The Seven Laws"). His regime became a dictatorship backed by the military.
Several states openly rebelled against the changes: Coahuila y Tejas (the northern part of which would become the Republic of Texas), San Luis Potosí, Querétaro, Durango, Guanajuato, Michoacán, Yucatán, Jalisco, Nuevo León, Tamaulipas, and Zacatecas. Several of these states formed their own governments: the Republic of the Rio Grande, the Republic of Yucatán, and the Republic of Texas. Only the Texans defeated Santa Anna and retained their independence. Their fierce resistance was possibly fueled by reprisals Santa Anna committed against his defeated enemies.  The New York Post editorialized that "had [Santa Anna] treated the vanquished with moderation and generosity, it would have been difficult if not impossible to awaken that general sympathy for the people of Texas which now impels so many adventurous and ardent spirits to throng to the aid of their brethren." 
The Zacatecan militia, the largest and best supplied of the Mexican states, led by Francisco García, was well armed with .753 caliber British ' Brown Bess' muskets and Baker .61 rifles. But, after two hours of combat on 12 May 1835, Santa Anna's "Army of Operations" defeated the Zacatecan militia and took almost 3,000 prisoners. Santa Anna allowed his army to loot Zacatecas for forty-eight hours. After defeating Zacatecas, he planned to move on to Coahuila y Tejas to quell the rebellion there, which was being supported by settlers from the United States (aka Texians).
In 1835, Santa Anna repealed the Mexican Constitution, which ultimately led to the beginning of the Texas Revolution. Santa Anna's reasoning for the repeal was that American settlers in Texas were not paying taxes or tariffs, claiming they were not recipients of any services provided by the Mexican Government. As a result, new settlers were not allowed there. The new policy was a response to the U.S. attempts to purchase Texas from Mexico. 
Santa Anna's treatment of the people of Texas also led to the revolution. In 1834, Santa Anna abolished the state legislature and gave himself absolute power, and as a result, the people in Texas were considered by Santa Anna to be a part of an unethical governmental system. The first altercation occurred in September 1835, when General Cos of the Mexican Army ordered men to confiscate a cannon from Gonzales. The people of Texas resisted, gaining control of the Alamo. 
Like other states discontented with the central Mexican authorities, the Texas Department of the Mexican state of Coahuila y Tejas rebelled in late 1835 and declared itself independent on 2 March 1836. The northeastern part of the state had been settled by numerous Anglo-American immigrants. Stephen Austin and his party had been welcomed by earlier Mexican governments.
Santa Anna marched north to bring Texas back under Mexican control by a show of brute merciless force. His expedition posed challenges of manpower, logistics, supply, and strategy far beyond what he was prepared for, and it ended in disaster. To fund, organize, and equip his army he relied, as he often did, on forcing wealthy men to provide loans. He recruited hastily, sweeping up many derelicts and ex-convicts, as well as Indians who could not understand Spanish commands.
His army expected tropical weather and suffered from the cold as well as shortages of traditional foods. Stretching a supply line far longer than ever before, he lacked horses, mules, cattle, and wagons, and thus had too little food and feed. The medical facilities were minimal. Morale sank as soldiers realized there were not enough chaplains to properly bury their bodies. Regional Indians attacked military stragglers; water sources were polluted and many men were sick. Because of his weak staff system, Santa Anna was oblivious to the challenges, and was totally confident that a show of force and a few massacres (as at the Alamo and Goliad) would have the rebels begging for mercy. 
On 6 March 1836, at the Battle of the Alamo, Santa Anna's forces killed 189 Texan defenders and later executed more than 342 Texan prisoners, including James Fannin at the Goliad Massacre (27 March 1836). These executions were conducted in a manner similar to the executions he witnessed of Mexican rebels in the 1810s as a young soldier.
In 1874, Santa Anna explained in a letter that killing defenders of the Alamo was his only option. The letter stressed that Commander William Travis was to blame for the degree of violence at the Alamo. Santa Anna believed that Travis was overly rude and disrespectful towards him, and had that not happened, he would have allowed Sam Houston to establish a dominant presence there. In his letter, he stated that the disrespect of Travis led to the demise of all of his followers, which he claimed only took a couple of hours. 
However, the defeat at the Alamo bought time for General Sam Houston and his Texas forces. During the siege of the Alamo, the Texas Navy had more time to plunder ports along the Gulf of Mexico and the Texian Army gained more weapons and ammunition. Despite Sam Houston's lack of ability to maintain strict control of the Texian Army, they defeated Santa Anna's much larger army at the Battle of San Jacinto on 21 April 1836. The Texans shouted, "Remember Goliad, Remember the Alamo!" The day after the battle, a small Texan force led by James Austin Sylvester captured Santa Anna. They found the general dressed in a dragoon private's uniform and hiding in a marsh.
On May 14, 1836, a treaty was made between Santa Anna and Texas. It committed Santa Anna to ceasing attacks on the Texan people, bringing to an end all military conflict between the two. Santa Anna also agreed that his troops would leave Texas. Both armies were also prohibited from contact with each other. Lastly, the treaty demanded that all Texan prisoners under Santa Anna be released. The treaty was a major turning point in Santa Anna's career, as it meant the end of Mexican reign in Texas. [ full citation needed]
López de Santa Anna rode double into Sam Houston's camp on the horse of Joel Walter Robison, a soldier in most of the revolutionary battles and later a member of the Texas House of Representatives from Fayette County. 
Acting Texas president David G. Burnet and López de Santa Anna signed the Treaties of Velasco, stating that "in his official character as chief of the Mexican nation, he acknowledged the full, entire, and perfect Independence of the Republic of Texas." In exchange, Burnet and the Texas government guaranteed Santa Anna's safety and transport to Veracruz. During this weeks-long journey, Santa Anna passed through Washington D.C. where he met briefly with the president Andrew Jackson. Meanwhile, in Mexico City a new government declared that Santa Anna was no longer president and that the treaty he had made with Texas was null and void.
While Santa Anna was captive in Texas, Joel Roberts Poinsett – U.S. minister to Mexico in 1824 – offered a harsh assessment of General Santa Anna's situation:
Say to General Santa Anna that when I remember how ardent an advocate he was of liberty ten years ago, I have no sympathy for him now, that he has gotten what he deserves.
Santa Anna replied:
Say to Mr. Poinsett that it is very true that I threw up my cap for liberty with great ardor, and perfect sincerity, but very soon found the folly of it. A hundred years to come my people will not be fit for liberty. They do not know what it is, unenlightened as they are, and under the influence of a Catholic clergy, a despotism is a proper government for them, but there is no reason why it should not be a wise and virtuous one. 
After some time in exile in the U.S., and after meeting U.S. president Andrew Jackson in 1837, Santa Anna was allowed to return to Mexico. He was transported aboard the USS Pioneer to retire to his Hacienda in Veracruz, called Manga de Clavo.
In 1837, Santa Anna also wrote a manifesto in which he reflected on his Texas experiences as well as his surrender. His great impact on Mexico was that by the age of thirty-five, he had built such a strong reputation as a military leader that he obtained high ranking. He acknowledged that by 1835, he considered Texas to be the biggest threat to Mexico, and he acted upon those threats. [ full citation needed]
In 1838, Santa Anna had a chance for redemption from the loss of Texas. After Mexico rejected French demands for financial compensation for losses suffered by French citizens, France sent forces that landed in Veracruz in the Pastry War. The Mexican government gave Santa Anna control of the army and ordered him to defend the nation by any means necessary. He engaged the French at Veracruz. During the Mexican retreat after a failed assault, Santa Anna was hit in the left leg and hand by cannon fire. His shattered ankle required amputation of much of his leg, which he ordered buried with full military honors. Despite Mexico's final capitulation to French demands, Santa Anna used his war service to re-enter Mexican politics as a hero. He never allowed Mexico to forget him and his sacrifice in defending the fatherland.
Santa Anna used a prosthetic cork leg; during the later Mexican–American War, it was captured and kept by American troops from the 4th Illinois Infantry. The cork leg is displayed at the Illinois State Military Museum in Springfield.  A second leg, a peg, was also captured by the 4th Illinois, and was reportedly used by the soldiers as a baseball bat; it is displayed at the home of Illinois Governor Richard J. Oglesby (who served in the regiment) in Decatur.  Santa Anna had a replacement leg made which is displayed at the Museo Nacional de Historia in Mexico City. 
Soon after, as Anastasio Bustamante's presidency turned chaotic, supporters asked Santa Anna to take control of the provisional government. Santa Anna was made president for the fifth time, taking over a nation with an empty treasury. The war with France had weakened Mexico, and the people were discontented. Also, a rebel army led by Generals José Urrea and José Antonio Mexía was marching towards the capital in opposition to Santa Anna. Commanding the army, Santa Anna crushed the rebellion in Puebla.
Santa Anna ruled in a more dictatorial way than during his first administration. His government banned anti-Santanista newspapers and jailed dissidents to suppress opposition. In 1842, he directed a military expedition into Texas. It committed numerous casualties with no political gain; but Texans began to be persuaded of the potential benefits of annexation by the more powerful U.S. Santa Anna was unable to control the Mexican congressional elections of 1842. The new Congress was composed of men of principles who vigorously opposed the autocratic leader. 
Trying to restore the treasury, Santa Anna raised taxes, but this aroused resistance. Several Mexican states stopped dealing with the central government, and Yucatán and Laredo declared themselves independent republics. With resentment growing, Santa Anna stepped down from power and fled in December 1844. The buried leg he left behind in the capital was dug up by a mob and dragged through the streets until nothing was left of it.   Fearing for his life, he tried to elude capture, but in January 1845 he was apprehended by a group of Indians near Xico, Veracruz. They turned him over to authorities, and Santa Anna was imprisoned. His life was spared, but he was exiled to Cuba, still a Spanish colony.
In 1846, Mexican and American troops moved towards the Rio Grande into the disputed Nueces Strip. Following early skirmishes, the United States then declared war on Mexico. Santa Anna wrote to Mexico City saying he had no aspirations to the presidency, but would eagerly use his military experience to reclaim Texas. President Valentín Gómez Farías was desperate enough to accept the offer and allowed Santa Anna to return. Meanwhile, Santa Anna had secretly been dealing with representatives of the U.S., pledging that if he were allowed back in Mexico through the U.S. naval blockades, he would work to sell all contested territory to the U.S. at a reasonable price. Once back in Mexico at the head of an army, Santa Anna reneged on both of these agreements. Santa Anna declared himself president again and unsuccessfully tried to fight off the U.S. invasion. His leadership was said to inspire the sea shanty " Santianna".
In August 1846, Santa Anna left for Veracruz. The Mexican people did not dwell on Santa Anna's past of military shortcomings and betrayals, because they still recognized him as a savior or hero who could make everything better. It had only been a year since he was forced out of the republic, but Santa Anna was still popular among the Mexican people. In "Santa Anna of Mexico", Fowler recognizes these events as a major turning point in Santa Anna's career and history, and explained his "transformation" or "resurrection" at the time. Though he had a history of corruption, many of the local people would often acknowledge that Santa Anna was the most reliable person to help Mexico get through the many obstacles and threats that the country would often face. His return was different from past events because Santa Anna had no intention of getting involved in politics again, intending to solely focus on aiding the military in its war against the United States. 
Following defeat in the Mexican–American War in 1848, Santa Anna went into exile in Kingston, Jamaica. Two years later, he moved to Turbaco, Colombia. In April 1853, he was invited back by conservatives who had overthrown a weak liberal government, initiated under the Plan de Hospicio in 1852, drawn up by the clerics in the cathedral chapter of Guadalajara. Usually, revolts were fomented by military officers; this one was created by churchmen.  Santa Anna was elected president on March 17, 1853; Alamán became his Minister of Foreign Relations, but died a short time later in June 1853. Santa Anna honored his promises to the Church, revoking a decree denying protection for the fulfillment of monastic vows, promulgated twenty years early during the era of Valentín Gómez Farías reform of 1833. President Santa Anna had left running the government in 1833 to his liberal vice president.  The Jesuits, which had been expelled from Spanish realms by the crown in 1767, were allowed to return to Mexico ostensibly to educate poorer classes, and much of their property, which the crown had confiscated and sold, was restored to them. 
This administration was no more successful than his earlier ones. He funneled government funds to his own pockets, sold more territory to the U.S. with the Gadsden Purchase, and declared himself dictator-for-life with the title "Most Serene Highness". Santa Anna's full title in this final period of power was "Hero [benemérito] of the nation, General of Division, Grand Master of the National and Distinguished Order of Guadalupe, Grand Cross of the Royal and Distinguished Spanish Order of Carlos III, and President of the Mexican Republic." 
The Plan of Ayutla of 1854 removed Santa Anna from office and he was exiled yet again.
Despite his generous payoffs to the military for loyalty, by 1855 even conservative allies had seen enough of Santa Anna. That year a group of liberals led by Benito Juárez and Ignacio Comonfort overthrew Santa Anna, and he fled back to Cuba. As the extent of his corruption became known, he was tried in absentia for treason; all his estates were confiscated by the government.
Santa Anna married twice, both times to wealthy teenage girls. At neither wedding ceremony did he appear, legally empowering his future father-in-law to serve as proxy at his first wedding and a friend at his second.  One assessment of the two marriages is that they were arranged marriages of convenience, bringing considerable wealth to Santa Anna, and that his lack of attendance at the wedding ceremonies "appears to confirm that he was purely interested in the financial aspect on the alliance." 
In 1825, he married Inés García, the daughter of wealthy Spanish parents in Veracruz, and the couple had four children: María de Guadalupe, María del Carmen, Manuel, and Antonio López de Santa Anna y García.  By 1825, Santa Anna had distinguished himself as a military man, joining the movement for independence when other creoles were also seeing Mexican autonomy as the way forward under royalist turned insurgent Agustín de Iturbide and the Army of Three Guarantees. When Iturbide as Mexican emperor lost support, Santa Anna had been in the forefront of leaders seeking to oust him. Although Santa Anna's family was of modest means, he was of good creole lineage; the García family may well have seen a match between their young daughter and the up-and-coming Santa Anna as advantageous. María Inés's dowry allowed Santa Anna to purchase the first of his haciendas, Manga de Clavo, in Veracruz state.  
The wife of the first Spanish Ambassador to Mexico, Fanny Calderón de la Barca and her husband visited with Santa Anna's first wife Inés at Manga de Clavo, where they were well-received with a breakfast banquet. Mme. Calderón de la Barca observed that "After breakfast, the Señora having dispatched an officer for her cigar-case, which was gold with a diamond latch, offered me a cigar, which I having declined, she lighted her own, a little paper 'cigarito', and the gentlemen followed her good example." 
Two months after the death of his wife Inés García in 1844, the 50-year-old Santa Anna married 16-year-old María de los Dolores de Tosta. The couple rarely lived together; de Tosta resided primarily in Mexico City and Santa Anna's political and military activities took him around the country.  They had no children, leading biographer Will Fowler to speculate that the marriage was either primarily platonic or that de Tosta was infertile. 
Several women claimed to have borne Santa Anna natural children. In his will, Santa Anna acknowledged and made provisions for four: Paula, María de la Merced, Petra, and José López de Santa Anna. Biographers have identified three more: Pedro López de Santa Anna, and Ángel and Augustina Rosa López de Santa Anna. 
From 1855 to 1874, Santa Anna lived in exile in Cuba, the United States, Colombia, and the then Danish island of Saint Thomas. He had left Mexico due to his unpopularity with the Mexican people after his defeat in 1848 and traveled to and from Cuba, the United States, and Europe. He participated in gambling and businesses with the hopes that he would become rich. In the 1850s, he traveled to New York with the first shipment of chicle. This is the base of what we know today as chewing gum, however, Santa Anna intended chicle to be used in buggy tires. He attempted but was unsuccessful in convincing U.S. wheel manufacturers that this substance could be more useful in tires than the materials they were originally using. Although he introduced chewing gum to the United States, he did not make any money from the product. 
In 1865, he attempted to return and offer his services during the French invasion by posing once again as the country's defender and savior, only to be refused by Juárez who was well aware of Santa Anna's character. Later that year a schooner owned by Gilbert Thompson, son-in-law of Daniel Tompkins, brought Santa Anna to his home in Staten Island, New York,  where he tried to raise money for an army to return and take over Mexico City.
Thomas Adams, the American assigned to aid Santa Anna while he was in the U.S., experimented with chicle in an attempt to use it as a substitute for rubber. He bought one ton of the substance from Santa Anna, but his experiments proved unsuccessful. Instead, Adams helped to found the chewing gum industry with a product that he called " chiclets". 
During his many years in exile, Santa Anna was a passionate fan of the sport of cockfighting. He had many roosters that he entered into competitions, and would have his roosters compete with cocks from all over the world.  He would invite breeders from all over the world for matches and is known to have spent tens of thousands of dollars on prize roosters.[ citation needed]
In 1874, he took advantage of a general amnesty and returned to Mexico. Crippled and almost blind from cataracts, he was ignored by the Mexican government that same year at the anniversary of the Battle of Churubusco. Having retreated from politics in 1855, he remained disconnected until his death in 1876.  Santa Anna died at his home in Mexico City on 21 June 1876 at age 82. He was buried with full military honors in a glass coffin in Panteón del Tepeyac Cemetery.
- Some accounts differ on the number of times he served, distinguishing between occasions on which Santa Anna was elected or appointed to the presidency and those when he returned to the office during the same term after previously leaving it in the hands of others. For example, Will Fowler in his introduction to Santa Anna of Mexico offers the general as serving six times,  and the Texas State Historical Association claims five. 
- Callcott, Wilfred H., "Santa Anna, Antonio Lopez De," Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved 18 April 2017.
- Howe, Daniel Walker (2007), What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815–1848, Oxford Univ. Press, p. 660
- For example, Costeloe, Michael P. The Central Republic in Mexico, 1835–1846: Hombres de Bien in the Age of Santa Anna. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1993.
- Krauze, Enrique. Mexico: Biography of Power. New York: Harper Collins 1997, 88.
- Archer, Christon I. "Fashioning a New Nation" in Michael C. Meyer and William H. Beezley, eds. The Oxford History of Mexico (2000) p. 323
- Long, Jeff (1990), Duel of Eagles, The Mexican and U.S. Fight for the Alamo, Quill, p. 85
- Alamán, Lucas. Historia de México vol. 5. Mexico 1990, quoted in Krauze, Enrique. Mexico: Biography of Power. New York: HarperCollins 1997, p. 135.
- Fowler 2009, p. xxi.
- Mead, Teresa (2016). A History of Modern Latin America. UK: John Wiley & Sons Inc. pp. 126–127. ISBN 978-1405120517.
- Archer, Christon I. "Fashioning a New Nation" in Michael C. Meyer and William H. Beezley, eds. The Oxford History of Mexico (2000) p. 322
- Archer, "Fashioning a New Nation", p. 323.
- Krauze, Mexico: Biography of Power, p. 127.
- Pani, Erika. "Antonio López de Santa Anna" in Encyclopedia of Mexico. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn 1997, p. 1334.
- Fowler 2000, p. 20.
- Fowler 2009, p. 27.
- Pani, "Antonio López de Santa Anna", p. 1334.
- Anna, Timothy E. Forging Mexico, 1821–1835. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press 1998, p. 103.
- Anna, Forging Mexico, p. 104.
- Benson, Nettie Lee. "The Plan of Casa Mata", Hispanic American Historical Review 25, no. 1, (February 1945): 45–56.
- Anna, Forging Mexico, p. 107.
- Anna, Forging Mexico, p. 133.
- Green, Stanley C. The Mexican Republic: The First Decade 1823–1832. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press 1987, pp. 44–45.
- Anna, Forging Mexico, pp. 205–206.
- Anna, Forging Mexico, pp. 218–219, 224.
- Green, The Mexican Republic, p. 158.
- Krauze, Mexico: Biography of Power, p. 137.
- Costeloe, Michael P. "Santa Anna and the Gómez Farías Administration in Mexico, 1833–1834", The Americas (1974) 31#1 pp. 18–50 in JSTOR
- Hutchinson, C. Alan (1969). Frontier Settlement in Mexican California; The Híjar-Padrés Colony and Its Origins, 1769–1835. New Haven: Yale University Press. OCLC 23067.
- González Pedrero 2004, p. 468.
- González Pedrero 2004, pp. 471–472.
- Olavarría y Ferrari 1880, p. 344.
- Edmondson, J.R. The Alamo Story: From Early History to Current Conflicts (2000) p. 378.
- Lord (1961), p. 169.
- Wright, R. "Santa Anna and the Texas Revolution". Andrews University. Retrieved 2018-10-02.
- Presley, James. "Santa Anna's Invasion of Texas: A Lesson in Command", Arizona & the West, (1968) 10#3 pp. 241–252
- "Santa Anna to McArdle, March 16, 1874: Letter Explaining Why the Alamo Defenders Had to Be Killed". Texas State Library and Archives Commission. State of Texas.
- animatedatlas.com/mexwar/santaanna.html" 'Treaty' Between Santa Anna and Texas"
- "Robison, Joel Walter". Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
- ""Captivity of Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna"". Archived from the original on 15 February 2012. Retrieved 10 September 2006.
- tamu.edu, "Manifesto which General Antonio Lopez De Santa Anna Addresses to His Fellow Citizens",
- "Public Displays: Santa Anna's life and limb", by S.L. Wisenberg, Chicago Reader, Retrieved June 2014
- "Captured Leg of Santa Anna", Roadside America
- "Santa Anna's Leg Took a Long Walk", Latin American Studies
- Costeloe, Michael P. "Generals Versus Politicians: Santa Anna and the 1842 Congressional Elections in Mexico", Bulletin of Latin American Research (1989) 8#2 pp. 257–274. in JSTOR
- Camnitzer 2009.
- Fowler 2009, p. 239.
- "Santa Anna of Mexico", pp. 256–257
- Lloyd (1966). Church and State in Latin America, revised edition. Chapel Hill: the University of North Carolina Press. p. 358.
- Mecham, Church and State, pp. 358–359.
- Mecham, Church and State, p. 359.
- Fowler, Will. "All the President's Women: The Wives of General Antonio López de Santa Anna in 19th century Mexico", Feminist Review, No. 79, Latin America: History, war, and independence (2005), pp. 57–58.
- Fowler, "All the President's Women", p. 58.
- Fowler 2009, p. 92.
- Potash, Robert. "Testamentos de Santa Anna". Historia Mexicana, Vol. 13, No. 3, 430–440.
- Calderón de la Barca, F. Life in Mexico. London: Century, pp. 32–33.
- Fowler 2009, p. 229.
- Mex general’s Staten ex-isle Retrieved November 22, 2018
- Staten Island on the Web: Famous Staten Islanders Archived 27 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
- Camnitzer, Luis (2009). Weiss, Rachel, ed. On Art, Artists, Latin America, and Other Utopias. University of Texas Press. p. 199. ISBN 9780292783492.
- Fowler, Will (2000). Tornel and Santa Anna: the writer and the caudillo, Mexico, 1795–1853. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 20. ISBN 978-0-313-30914-4.
- Fowler, Will (2009-11-01). Santa Anna of Mexico. U of Nebraska Press. ISBN 978-0-8032-2638-8. Retrieved 2012-08-17.
- González Pedrero, Enrique (2004). País de un solo hombre: el México de Santa Anna. Volumen II. La sociedad de fuego cruzado 1829–1836 (in Spanish). México: Fondo de Cultura Económica. ISBN 968-16-6377-2.
- Olavarría y Ferrari, Enrique de (1880). Vicente Riva Palacio, ed. México a través de los siglos (in Spanish). México: Ballescá y Cía. pp. 210–226.
- Mead, Teresa (2016). A History of Modern Latin America (2 ed.). UK: John Wiley & Sons Inc. pp. 126–127. ISBN 1405120517.
- Anna, Timothy E. Forging Mexico, 1821–1835. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press 1998
- Calcott, Wilfred H. Santa Anna: The Story of the Enigma Who Once Was Mexico. Hamden CT: Anchon 1964.
- Chartrand, Rene, and Younghusband, Bill. Santa Anna's Mexican Army 1821–48 (2004) excerpt and text search
- Costeloe, Michael P. The Central Republic in Mexico, 1835–1846: Hombres de Bien in the Age of Santa Anna. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1993.
- Crawford, Ann F.; The Eagle: The Autobiography of Santa Anna; State House Press;
- Fowler, Will (2007), Santa Anna of Mexico, Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press; a standard scholarly biography; online
- Fowler, Will. Mexico in the Age of Proposals, 1821–1853 (1998)
- Fowler, Will. Tornel and Santa Anna: The Writer and the Caudillo, Mexico, 1795–1853 (2000) excerpt and text search
- Green, Stanley C. The Mexican Republic: The First Decade 1823–1832. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press 1987
- Hardin, Stephen L., and McBride, Angus. The Alamo 1836: Santa Anna's Texas Campaign (2001) excerpt and text search
- Jackson, Jack. "Santa Anna's 1836 Campaign: Was It Directed Toward Ethnic Cleansing?" Journal of South Texas (March 2002) 15#1 pp. 10–37; argues that yes it was
- Jackson, Jack, and Wheat, John. Almonte's Texas, Texas State Historical Assoc.
- Lord, Walter (1961), A Time to Stand, Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, ISBN 0-8032-7902-7, popular history
- Mabry, Donald J., "Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna", 2 November 2008; essay by scholar
- Roberts, Randy & Olson, James S., A Line in the Sand: The Alamo in Blood and Memory (2002)
- Santoni, Pedro; Mexicans at Arms-Puro Federalist and the Politics of War TCU Press;[ ISBN missing]
- Scheina, Robert L. Santa Anna: A Curse Upon Mexico (2003) excerpt and text search
- Suchlicki, Jaime. "Mexico: Montezuma to the Rise of Pan", Potomac Books: Washington DC, 1996.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Antonio López de Santa Anna.|
|Wikisource has the text of an Encyclopaedia Britannica (9th ed.) article about Antonio López de Santa Anna.|
- Santa Anna Letters on the Portal to Texas History
- Antonio López de Santa Anna in A Continent Divided: The U.S. - Mexico War, Center for Greater Southwestern Studies, the University of Texas at Arlington
- The Handbook of Texas Online: Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna
- Benson Latin American Collection – Antonio López de Santa Anna Collection
- Sketch of Santa Anna from A pictorial history of Texas, from the earliest visits of European adventurers, to A.D. 1879, hosted by the Portal to Texas History.
- Archontology.org, Home » Nations » Mexico » Heads of State » LÓPEZ de SANTA ANNA, Antonio
- Texas Prisoners in Mexico 3 August 1843 From Texas Tides