Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna was quite the character in early Mexican political and military circles throughout much of the 19th century. Do you think American politics are bad? He was President of the country eleven times in twenty-two years, never consecutively, and at times without receiving one vote on the ballot. #RussiansDidIt He led the Mexican Army in putting down the Texas Revolution, which was going quite well until Sam Houston caught him sleeping off a hangover. Santa Anna’s leg alone has a story worthy of its own focus, and his prosthetic leg has one as well. #SnorkWarning
Santa Anna was a political chameleon as he represented whatever the people wanted at the time in order to hold power. #SoundFamiliar? He started as an officer for the Spanish military in Mexico against the rebellion, but then switched sides later when it was clear who was going to win. During his tenure as a politician he represented the Liberals, Conservatives and even those who wished a return to a monarchy. #AllClassicalLabels #NotThisModernCrap Take, for instance his first Presidency. Santa Anna won the presidential election in 1833, but never bothered going to his own inauguration and announced his retirement. His VP, a devout liberal named Dr. Valentin Gomez Farias, took over and made sweeping liberal reforms to the nation, including the persecution of the Catholic Church. In 1834 Santa Anna led a coup to overthrow Farias, overturned all of Farias’ reforms, reinstituted the Catholic Church, dissolved Congress and rewrote the Constitution. #WHAT A year later, several of the Mexican states began rebelling, and forming their own Republics. Texas was one of them, and Santa Anna wasn’t having that. He liked football and he knew that holding the University of Texas would pay off down the road. #HookEmHorns
Santa Anna stomped the Texians flat for most of the campaign until he committed two major mistakes- he marched his army beyond his logistical tail and liked to drink while in the field. #BothBadIdeas His soldiers were starving, dehydrated and ill. Indians were raiding what little was working its way towards his troops, making the problems worse. Sam Houston defeated Santa Anna on the 21st of April 1836 at the battle of San Jacinto, and a small unit found him hiding in a swamp the next day. The Treaty of Velasco was signed by the net month, but after Santa Annas release, the Mexican Congress balked, claiming that Santa Anna had no power to sign it. Santa Anna tried damage control by claiming that it was coerced during his time as a prisoner. No one bought it. As such, Santa Anna went on an extended vacation out of the country for an extended period of time (aka exile) and the stage was set for the Mexican-American War. #Later
For some reason, Santa Anna went to the US to be in exile. President Andrew Jackson met with him, decided he didn’t want this guy in the US and shipped him back to Mexico. In a bizarre twist, the Mexicans put him back to work as a General just in time for the Mexicans to go to war with France OVER A CROSSAINT SHOP. “The Pastry War” with France was literally caused due to a French nationals overpriced donut shop taking damage in Veracruz. The Mexican government refused to pay damages, so the French invaded. #HowOftenDoesThatHappen During the fighting, Santa Anna took a cannonball to the leg and had to have it amputated. He had his leg buried with full military honors. #ICantMakeThisUp The Mexicans eventually lost and paid the French the paltry sum to have the shop repaired.
It gets better. Santa Anna became President yet again in 1842. The Mexican government was nearly broke, but Santa Anna had some priorities to deal with. His first was to have his leg exhumed, was given a full parade through downtown Mexico City and was reburied under a large monument that was dedicated with cannon shots, flowery speeches and poetry. #AlasPoorLegDoesntFlow #LitMajorsHaveAlwaysBeenLame As one last mention to Santa Annas leg, when he was forcibly convinced to leave the Presidency in a hasty manner, the crowds busted up his legs monument, tied the desiccated leg on a rope and drug it through the streets before burning it in front of the Presidential Manor. #FFS #ItsALeg
We’re not done with the leg yet, or at least its replacement. In 1847, the 4th Illinois Infantry took Santa Annas army unawares in the Mexican American War. #ThisIsAThing The Boyz From Illinoiz took his prosthesis as a war trophy and brought it home. It is currently on display at the Illinois Military Museum. The Mexican Government has tried repeatedly to get the leg back, but Illinois ain’t having it. It’s the only cool trophy they ever brought home. I know, I know, it sounds like bs. Guess what? #HeresAPicture
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