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Antonio López de Santa Anna
Birth: Feb. 21, 1795
Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave, Mexico
Death: Jun. 21, 1876
Mexico City
Distrito Federal, Mexico

Mexican General, President, and Dictator. Often referred to as the "Napoleon of the West" he is best remembered as opposing independence for the Republic of Texas in 1836 and losing the Mexican War with the US ten years later. He was general and president multiple times over a turbulent 40-year career and was president on eleven non-consecutive occasions over a period of 22 years. A wealthy landowner, he built a firm political base in the major port city of Veracruz. He was the hero of the Mexican Army, seeking glory for himself and his army, repeatedly rebuilt it after major losses. A brave soldier and a cunning politician, he so dominated his era that historians often call it the "Age of Santa Anna." Born Antonio de Padua Maria Severino Lopez de Santa Anna y Perez de Lebron in Xalapa, Veracruz, Nueva Espana (New Spain) he came from a highly respected and wealthy Spanish colonial family. In June 1810, during Mexico's first attempt to gain independence from Spain, he 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. The same year he joined the colonial Spanish Army under José Joaquín de Arredondo, who taught him much about treating Mexican nationalist rebels. In 1811 he was wounded in the by an arrow during a military in the town of Amoladeras, in the state of San Luis Potosí. He was promoted quickly, becoming a second lieutenant in February 1812 and first lieutenant before the end of that year. In 1813 he served in Texas against the Gutiérrez-Magee expedition, and at the Battle of Medina, fought on August 18, 1813, in which he was cited for bravery. In 1816 he was promoted to captain and occasionally led campaigns to suppress Native Americans or restore order after an insurrection. In 1821 he switched sides, and pledged his loyalty to Agustin de Iturbide, the future Emperor of Mexico, driving the Spanish out of Veracruz and was rewarded with the rank of general. In 1822 he and other military conspirators laid plans to overthrow Itrubide, abolish the monarchy and establish a republic. Itrubide resigned in May 1823 and Guadalupe Victoria became the first president of Mexico. In 1824 Santa Anna was appointed governor of the Mexican state of Yucatan. Four years later he and several other politicians staged a coup against the newly elected President Manuel Gomez Pedraza and Vicente Guerrero took over as president. In 1829, when Spain attempted one last effort to retake Mexico, Santa Anna defeated the larger Spanish forces near Tampico and was hailed as the savior of the Republic. From that time until the end of 1832 several coups took place and on April 1, 1833 Santa Anna was elected president by the Mexican Congress. In 1835 he dissolved the Congress and began centralizing power under a dictatorship with full support of the military. Opposition from nearly all the Mexican states ensued, with three of them forming their own governments, including the Republic of the Rio Grande, the Republic of Yucatan, and the Republic of Texas, who declared its independence on March 2, 1836. After suppressing the rebellion in Zacatecas, he moved on to Texas and on March 6, 1836, at the Battle of the Alamo, his forces killed 189 Texan defenders and later executed more than 342 Texan prisoners at the Goliad Massacre on March 27, 1836, convinced that his harsh and brutal treatment of the opposition would have the rebels soon begging for mercy. Instead it rallied the Texans to fight further, and on April 21, 1836, at the Battle of San Jacinto, he was defeated by General Sam Houston and captured. He signed the Treaty of Velasco with acting Texas President David G. Burnet that provided for Texas' independence. A new Mexican government removed him from power and he remained in exile in the US until 1837, when he was allowed to retire to his home in Veracruz, Mexico. In November 1838, when Mexico rejected French demand of compensation for financial losses incurred by French citizens, France sent a military force that landed in Veracruz. Santa Anna was given control of the Mexican army and engaged the French forces and was wounded in the left leg from grapeshot and it had to be amputated. Capitalizing on his heroics through eloquent propaganda, he soon re-entered Mexican politics and was asked to take control of the provisional government. He crushed a rebellion and became more dictatorial than before and even directed a military expedition into Texas in 1842 but it resulted in no gain. Unable to control the congressional elections of 1842 coupled with raising taxes in an effort to restore the treasury, he stepped down from power in 1844 and fled. In January 1845 he was captured and imprisoned by Mexican authorities and eventually exiled to Cuba. On April 25, 1846 the US declared war on Mexico and he offered his military services to fend off the ensuing invasion. Reneging on his promise, he declared himself president again and was unsuccessful in his attempt to defend Mexico from superior American forces. The American troops, after a series of successful battles captured Mexico City on September 13, 1847, after defeating the adolescent cadets (Los Ninos Heroes) of the Colegio Militar in Chapultepec. The Mexican-American war officially ended on February 2, 1848 and with the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, Mexico was forced to recognize Texas' independence as well as ceding half of its territory to the US, comprising of the present-day states of California, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and part of Colorado and Texas. In 1851 he was forced into exile in Kingston, Jamaica, and two years later he moved to Turbaco, Colombia. I n April 1853, he was invited back by rebellious conservatives with whom he succeeded in re-taking the government, which was no more successful than his earlier ones. He funneled government funds to his own pockets, sold more territory to the United States (see Gadsden Purchase), and declared himself dictator-for-life with the title "Most Serene Highness". The Plan of Ayutla, that was proclaimed on March 1, 1854 removed him from power and paved the way for the establishment of a liberal government under the 1857 Mexican Constitution. He then fled back to Cuba and as the extent of his corruption became known, he was tried in absentia for treason and all of his estates were confiscated by the government. In 1869 he was living in exile in Staten Island, New York. In an attempt to raise money for an army to return and take over Mexico City he is credited with bringing in the first shipments of chicle, the base of chewing gum, to the US. His scheme was to use the chicle to replace rubber in carriage tires, which was tried without success. Thomas Adams, the American assigned to aid him while he was in the US, 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 and he failed to profit from it. As a side note, Adams eventually used the chuckle to found the chewing gum industry with a product that he called "Chiclets". In 1874 Santa Anna took advantage of a general amnesty and returned to Mexico, where he lived on the charity of relatives and friends. Crippled and almost blind from cataracts, he was ignored by the Mexican government at the anniversary of the Battle of Churubusco from the Mexican-American War. He died two years later in Mexico City from a stroke at the age of 82.
 (bio by: William Bjornstad) 
Panteón del Tepeyac
Distrito Federal, Mexico
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Debbie
Record added: Aug 19, 2005
Find A Grave Memorial# 11566057
Antonio López de Santa Anna
Added by: Jorge Brand
Antonio López de Santa Anna
Added by: Debbie
Antonio López de Santa Anna
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Added by: Gabriel Solis
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