F Heritage History | Short History of Mexico by Arthur H. Noll

Short History of Mexico - Arthur H. Noll




Early Republic and the Revolt of Texas

Mexican politics, always a bewildering study, was by no means simplified by the adoption of a Republican form of government. It would be impossible to condense the political history of the Republica Mexicana  and at the same time render it intelligible. It would likewise be unprofitable to submit a detailed account of the rise and fall of the various factions that have in turn ruled the country. At most periods of its existence, but more particularly throughout its attempts to maintain a Republic, Mexico has deserved the reputation it has had in the world for revolutions, unstable government, and frequent political changes. But while almost any one of the numberless political intrigues which mark the course of its history might furnish a plot for a thrilling historical novel, there are comparatively few events of more than local interest to be recorded. These will be duly set down in their proper places. The rest of the history of the pseudo-republic (for in view of the facts which must be recorded here, it is entitled to no fuller recognition as a Republic) need consist of no more than the briefest accounts of the changes that have taken place in the administration of federal affairs.

By the provisions of the Constitution, the presidential term was to continue four years, and no President was eligible to immediate re-election. It may be with some surprise that the reader learns, in this early chapter of the history of the United States of Mexico, that so little heed was given to constitutional provisions that there were nine changes in the administration within the first decade;  and this is to earnest of what is to be noted throughout the subsequent history. The reader who would be interested in knowing in every case who is the constitutional President (for the term is used long after the thing expressed by that term has disappeared from view) is doomed to disappointment. This book will make no effort to unravel such skeins. It can only adopt as the basis of its narrative the succession of the Presidents de facto. Many a name on the list furnished us of the Presidents of Mexico is that of a man .who has reached that high position by virtue of a successful pronunciamento, or a golpe de estado, which means the forcible setting aside of the Constitution when found to be in the way of an aspirant to high office. If precedent is of any value in Mexico, there is certainly no reason why the right of any of the later Presidents should be questioned.

The first President of Mexico under the Constitution was the famous revolutionary General, Guadalupe Victoria, inaugurated in October, 1824. His real name was Felix Fernandez, his political or historical name having been adopted out of respect for the great religious patron of Mexico, Our Lady of Guadalupe (thus acquiring for himself religious prestige), and in reference to the success that had attended all the battles in which he was engaged throughout the Revolution. He was an excellent man, despite his appearance in history under an alias. In proof of the honesty of his administration it is related of him that he died poor, shortly after the close of his term of office, leaving his widow to the nation's care. He was one of the few who were permitted to complete their full terms of office.

His Vice-President was Gen. Nicolas Bravo, who was not fully in accord with his chief, as we shall see. It was by no means a peaceful term. The President was called upon to put down two revolutions. The first was headed by Padre Arenas, a Dominican friar, and was designed to re-establish Spanish rule. Its leaders were summarily dealt with. The second was headed by a man named Montano, and involved in it was no less a person than the Vice-President, Nicolas Bravo. It had for its objects the expulsion of the Spanish residents of Mexico, the recall of the ambassador from the United States, the removal of Manuel Gomez Pedraza, the Minister of War and virtual chief of the cabinet, and the extinction of Freemasonry, which was a powerful factor in politics. The revolution was put down by troops under General Guerrero, and resulted in the banishment of Bravo and other distinguished personages.

It was in the first presidential term that the Spanish government lost its last foothold in America. It had up to this time maintained a garrison in San Joan de Ulua off Vera Cruz. It abandoned this position in 1825. It was in that year that the Republic received the recognition of England and the United States.

The principal parties taking part in the election of 1828 were the Yorkinos and the Escoceses. The first was composed of the adherents of the York rite, and the Federalists, who called themselves "High Liberals." The others called themselves Moderates, Conservatives, and Centralists, and comprised the adherents of the Scottish rite. Freemasonry had played an active part in the drama of Independence, but there was an evident schism in Freemasonry, while the whole order was under the ban of the adherents of the Church. The Escoceses, aided by the Spanish residents, elected their candidate for the presidency, Gen. Manuel Gomez Pedraza; but the Yorkinos made an appeal, first to the legislature, and failing there, then to that most powerful factor in Mexican politics,—arms. This changed the whole course of Mexican history, and from that time until 1846 the succession of Presidents was not dependent upon elections. Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna inspired a revolution in Perote, which soon spread to the capital. The city was sacked and a terrible scene of carnage ensued, from which the President-elect, Pedraza, saved himself by flight. It was amid such scenes as these that the term of Guadalupe Victoria expired. On the 12th of January, 1829, Congress declared the election of Pedraza null and void, and elected Gen. Vicente Guerrero, the candidate of the Yorkinos, or high liberals, President, with Gen. Anastasio Bustamante, as Vice-President.

The old revolutionary hero, Guerrero, now for a short time at the head of the government, found himself once more in conflict with the Spaniards. The Spanish residents of the country had taken such a prominent and influential part in the politics of Mexico (and were besides of the Escoceses or Conservative party) that Congress decided, in March, 1829, that the Spaniards must go. They were accordingly expelled from the country. This precipitated a long-meditated scheme on the part of Spain, who still entertained the idea that it was possible to regain her lost provinces in America by conquest. With that end in view a squadron was prepared in Habana and sent out to Mexico. In July, 1829, about 4,000 men debarked near Tampico, and proceeded to capture that city on the 4th of August. Thereupon Gen. Santa Anna, without awaiting orders from the government, fitted out an expedition, and after a series of skirmishes and a few pitched battles, being joined by Gen. Manuel Mier y Teran with regular forces of the Republic, gained a decided victory, and drove the Spanish to their ships on the 11th of September, and they returned to Cuba. It was not until 1836 that Spain recognized the Independence of Mexico, though she made no further attempts at conquest.

Scarcely had the Spanish invaders been repulsed, when Guerrero found himself opposed by the officers of his own administration. The Vice-President, Gen. Bustamante, had been in command of a force of reserves in Jalapa in the campaign against the Spanish, and upon the retiring of the invaders "pronounced" against the government, setting forth the Plan de Jalapa. Guerrero set out with an army from the capital, in December, 1829, to put down this rebellion, leaving the administration of affairs in the hands of Don Jose Maria de Bocenegra, as Acting-President.

Guerrero was over-trustful of Bocenegra and his influence with the troops at the capital. No sooner had he left the city than he discovered that he had enemies behind him as well as before him, and that both Bustamante and Bocenegra were powerful leaders. His troops deserted him for Bocenegra, and he abandoned his expedition and went into the South; and thus, in less than a year, his presidency came to an end. Bocenegra maintained himself even a shorter time, for Bustamante succeeded in reaching the capital; but pending the full establishment of his government, the President of the Supreme Court of Justice, Don Pedro Velez, took charge of the office, associating with himself Gen. Luis Quintana and the historian Don Lucas Alaman. Though this governing board accomplished little, the names of the constituents are placed in the list of Mexican Presidents as succeeding Bocenegra.

On the 1st of January, 1830, Gen. Anastasio Bustamante was inaugurated as President,—not without some shadow of right, it might be said; for in view of the virtual abdication of Guerrero, he was, as Vice-President, entitled to succeed,—of course not examining too closely into the manner in which the vacancy in the presidency had occurred. The affairs of the country were principally administered by the Minister of Relations, or Secretary of State, Lucas Alaman. Congress was very accommodating, and passed enabling acts, declaring Guerrero's government extinct, and the succession of Bustamante legal.

In a brief season of peace the new government advanced many good measures. After that, the usual number of revolutions broke out, and were successively put down, and their leaders punished. One of these was headed by Guerrero, and was designed to restore him to power. The government took alarm at the promised success of his movements, and a dastardly plot was formed for the destruction of this gallant revolutionary chief. A Genoese captain of a brigantine was paid $70,000 to carry out the scheme, and sailed for Acapulco, where Guerrero was staying. The unsuspecting Guerrero was invited to dine on board the vessel, and accepted. After dinner he was made prisoner, taken by the vessel to Huatulco, and delivered into the hands of his enemies. He was subjected to the mockery of a trial, condemned, and on the 14th of February, 1831, was shot in the town of Cuilapa. His body was buried in the Panteon de San Fernando, in the capital; and in the Plaza of San Fernando stands a bronze Statue of this heroic friend of the Mexican people.

It is not surprising that such a cruel and cowardly act as the slaying of Guerrero should hasten the downfall of the government which had inspired it. The execrations of the people fell most heavily upon the Minister of War, Don Jose Antonio Facio, who was supposed to be responsible for the plot against Guerrero. In January, 1832, Santa Anna headed a revolution in Vera Cruz in favor of the Conservatives; and though Bustamante personally led the troops against the insurgents, the latter gained one victory after another, and finally, in November, defeated Bustamante in Casa Blanca, and brought his administration to an inglorious end. Gen. Melchor Muzquiz was appointed Acting-President by Congress on the 14th of August.

Meanwhile Gen. Manuel Gomez Pedraza had returned to the Republic from his exile, and basing his claims upon his election in 1828, but more particularly upon the ascendency gained by his partisans, the Conservatives, seated himself in the presidential chair on the 24th of December, 1832, and held office until a new election could be had. This election resulted in the choice of Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna as President. He at once evinced a tendency to assume dictatorial powers, and to complicate himself with the Church party. He was no less a keen observer of popular events than he was shrewd in intrigue and indomitable in conflict; and noting the fact that his acts were unpopular, he abandoned the presidency and retired to his hacienda of Mango de Clavo, on the road between Vera Cruz and Jalapa, leaving his Vice-President, Don Valentin Gomez Farias, to handle the reins of government and to bear the brunt of the popular odium aroused by his own acts.

Gomez Farias was a man of more than the average ability. He was a native of Guadalajara, born in 1781. He was largely self-taught, and was skilled in medicine and science. He sacrificed his fortune for the cause of Independence, and organized a battalion in the army of Hidalgo. He was a deputy in the first Congress of the Republic, and subsequently organized the State of Zacatecas. When left to bear the burden of the affairs of the nation at such a critical time, he instituted some very wise reforms, beginning with the University of which he was the head, excluding the clergy from teaching in educational institutions supported by national funds. He abolished the system of tithes for the support of ecclesiastical institutions (the first blow aimed at the Church, but afterwards annulled by Santa Anna, who was inclined to coquet with the Church); denied the right of civil courts to maintain the binding force of the monastic vow, thus leaving members of religious orders free to abandon their convents; expelled the Spanish refugees and monks who had flocked to Mexico from Guatemala and Central America; and consigned Bustamante to exile. He was called upon to put down an insurrection, in May, 1833, which made Santa Anna a prisoner. But the indomitable schemer made his escape, presented himself in Puebla, organized resistance to the insurgents, and defeated them in Guanajuato.

The retirement of Santa Anna to his hacienda always augured some new political mischief in which he was to be the leader. It was in this case the plan called "Cuernavaca" whereby Santa Anna was to resume the presidency and assume the dictatorship. A so-called "Constitutional" Congress, installed on the 4th of January, 1835, and manipulated by Santa Anna, refused to recognize Farias, assumed the power to revise the Constitution of 1824, and selected a new President. Accordingly, on the 28th of January, 1835, Gen. Miguel Barragan became Acting-President of the Republic.

The administration of Barragan brings to notice a series of events demanding especial attention, and leading to the independence of Texas and the material reduction of the territory of the Mexican Republic. To this subject, American histories have done scant justice. It is unfortunate that the opportunity here afforded is only to treat it in its bearings upon the history of Mexico. Before the Texans secured their independence, another change occurred in the administration of the Mexican government. Acting-President Barragan died in February, 1836, of a fever, and Don Jose Justo Corro was appointed Acting-President in his place, holding the office until the 19th of April, 1837.

Texas claims scarcely any notice from the historians either of our country or of Mexico until the present century. In 1803 the United States purchased of France a large territory, known as Louisiana, and said to extend from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains, and from the British Possessions on the north to Mexico on the south. Some part, perhaps the whole, of what is now the State of Texas may have been included in this purchase; for Texas had been the subject of rival claims from the time when the French explorer, La Salle, descended the Mississippi River in 1684, and at its mouth took possession, in the name of his king, Louis XIV, of the entire region whence that mighty river derived its waters. Two years later, he set out to explore the country; and French missionaries, following in his track westward, came in contact with Spanish missionaries advancing northward from the City of Mexico. In 1762 France gave up Louisiana to Spain; but forty years later, Spain returned it to Napoleon Bonaparte, then First Consul of France, and he, without taking formal possession, sold it the following year, as we have seen, to the United States. As soon as it was understood that Texas was in the possession of the United States, colonization from the States east of the Mississippi began, and within fifteen years there were nearly ten thousand white people settled there.

But in the year 1819 the residents of Texas awoke one morning to learn that the United States, in purchasing Florida from Spain, had given up Texas to that country in part payment therefor. They had supposed (they stated in a vigorous protest made to the government at Washington) themselves safe under the protection of the government of the United States, and now they found themselves suddenly "abandoned to the dominion of the crown of Spain, and left a prey to all those exactions which Spanish rapacity is fertile in devising," by a treaty to which they were no party. Their protest was, of course, in vain.

In 1821 Moses Austin, a native of Connecticut, but who had become a Spanish subject by residence in New Orleans while that city was under Spanish rule, obtained from the Spanish Viceroy in Mexico, Juan Ruiz de Apodaca, "the Unfortunate," a grant of a large tract of land having a frontage of one hundred miles along the Gulf coast, and extending a greater distance into the interior of Texas. He was to induce three hundred families to colonize there and develop the country. Each family was to receive a square league of land, and for every hundred families he succeeded in colonizing, Austin was to receive a snug little farm of five square leagues. Moses Austin died in less than five months after obtaining this grant, leaving Stephen F. Austin, his son, to carry out his schemes for colonization.

It was two months after he had signed the contract with Austin that the career in Mexico of Apodaca "the Unfortunate" closed. In the preceding pages the reader has seen the changes which took place in rapid succession in "the party of the first part" in that transaction, from a tottering colonial government to a weak Empire, and then to an unstable Republic. When, upon the death of his father, Stephen F. Austin went to the City of Mexico to obtain a confirmation of the grant, the government was in its transition state from the Empire to the Republic. It required months of negotiations to obtain what he wanted. In the course of these negotiations he received the title of "Empresario" (from the Spanish empresa, an enterprise), and was vested with civil jurisdiction over his colonists.

Returning to Texas, Austin set out with energy to accomplish the difficult task he had undertaken. He laid out the town—now the capital of the State and bearing his name—then known as San Felipe de Austin. In 1825, having fully complied with the terms of the original contract, he obtained a second grant, and in 1827 and 1828 he secured yet others. He was thus the means of introducing over fifteen hundred colonists into the country. There were rival empresarios by this time, and one of them got into trouble with the Mexican government, and led his colonists to declare their independence and organize the "State of Fredonia," intending to include nearly the whole of Texas. This came near involving all the colonists in war with Mexico, which must have proved disastrous to Austin's colonies as well as the others. But Austin's colonists proved their loyalty to Mexico by aiding in putting down the rebellion.

In 1830 the white population of Texas was estimated at forty thousand; but instead of being provided with a separate State government, the Texans were within the jurisdiction of the State of Coahuila (south of the Rio Grande and peopled entirely by Mexicans). It was in that year that the tyrannous rule of Bustamante began in Mexico. His attitude toward the colonists was far from encouraging. He repealed laws by which they had been protected, forbade citizens of the United States to hold lands in Mexico, and, worst of all, to enforce his new laws he stationed troops at various points in Texas, and built forts at the most thriving towns of the colonists. He also extended the jurisdiction of his military courts over Texas in the place of the civil authority conferred upon the empresarios.

The colonists were not the kind of men to submit tamely to such tyranny, and to all these measures of Bustamante they opposed themselves most vigorously. An encounter took place at Fort Velasco, one of the forts built by Bustamante, and garrisoned by over two hundred Mexicans. After an engagement lasting eleven hours the Mexicans were forced to surrender, and were disarmed by a body of Texas volunteers (June, 1832). Nacogdoches was likewise taken by the Texans, and thus the clouds of war blew over for a time. But it was deemed best on the part of the Texans that their country, having a population composed almost wholly of Americans, should be separated from Coahuila, and erected into a distinct State. A constitution was accordingly prepared, in form resembling that of most of our States, though of course adapted to Mexican laws; and Stephen F. Austin was sent to the City of Mexico to petition for the erection of Texas into a State.

Gomez Farias was at the head of affairs at the time, and Austin found him unfriendly to the cause of Texas. After long and tedious delays, Austin wrote to the Texans advising them to organize "a local government for Texas as a State of the Mexican Confederation, under the law of the 7th of May, 1824, even should the Mexican government finally refuse its consent," and soon afterwards set out on his return to Texas. His letter fell into the hands of Farias, who fancied he saw treason therein. Austin was overtaken and carried back to the Mexican capital a prisoner. For nearly two years he remained a prisoner, a part of the time in solitary confinement. He was finally allowed to return to his home, in September, 1835. Besides this insult to a commissioner sent to treat with the Mexican government upon matters pertaining to the welfare of his State, other grounds were furnished for the revolt of Texas.

Santa Anna, at the head of the army of Barragan, in April, 1835, set out to reduce certain rebellious districts to submission, and while avowing the strongest friendship for Texas, began to make inroads upon the rights and liberties of the colonists. The inhabitants of the town of Goliad were disarmed, many were impressed into his army, and finally notice was given that Mexican troops were to be quartered upon the town. A spirit of resistance to such acts of despotism grew up in Texas. It needed but one more decisive act of tyranny to bring on the trouble that had long been threatening.

Late in September, 18355, an armed force of one hundred and fifty Mexicans was sent to Gonzales to secure a cannon used by the inhabitants of that town to defend themselves against the attacks of the Indians. A company of Texan volunteers, at first only eighteen in number, but increased to about one hundred and sixty in the course of a day or two, met the Mexicans, and after deciding to take the initiative in the war then clearly seen to be pending, drove them back (Oct 2, 1835). This was to Texas what Concord and Lexington were to the United States. The whole country arose. The Texans rallied around the little company at Gonzales; it grew into a regiment, elected officers, and was the nucleus of the army that fought for and won the Independence of Texas. A few days later, fifty Texans attacked and captured the Mexican garrison at Goliad, took twenty-five prisoners, and arms and military stores to the value of $10,000, and in a few weeks the forts on the Nueces River fell into the hands of the Texans.

In November, 1835, some of the leading Texans met in council and adopted a declaration which admirably expressed the relations existing between the Texan colonies and the Mexican government. It stated that the federal institutions of Mexico had been overthrown, and the social compact existing between Texas and the other members of the Mexican confederacy dissolved; the people of Texas, availing themselves of their natural rights, had taken up arms in defense of their homes and liberties, both threatened by the encroachments of military despots, and also in defense of the Mexican Constitution of 1824, so rudely set aside by the Congress of 1835, which under Santa Anna's manipulation had seated Barragan. Support was offered to such Mexican States as would take up arms against military despotism. The right of the then nominal authorities of Mexico to govern Texas was denied. War was declared against the usurpers of the Mexican government so long as their troops remained in Texas, and the right of Texas to withdraw from the Union during the disorganization of the federal system and the reign of despotism was stoutly maintained. And having assumed this manly position, the Texans formed a temporary government, elected a governor, appointed Gen. Sam Houston commander-in-chief of their army to be raised, and sent Austin to the United States to secure aid for them in the struggle then begun and likely to be prolonged.

The army of which General Houston was thus appointed commander never numbered more than ten thousand men, was never well organized nor well equipped. The arms were mostly rifles and hunting-knives, and written history has never done full justice to the events following the Texans' declaration of war. The wresting of their territory from a nation having a population of eight millions and an excellent standing army, and the establishment of a republic of their own in the face of many obstacles, belong properly to the history of our own country, and are entitled to a high and honorable place therein.

The town of San Antonio had been occupied and fortified by Mexican troops under Gen. Martin Cos, sent by Santa Anna to restrain the rising spirit of independence in Texas. On the 5th of December, 1835, the place was assaulted and taken by about three hundred Texans. By the terms of their surrender the Mexicans were to retire beyond the Rio Grande and not to oppose in any way the re-establishment of the Constitution of 1824.

In his efforts to obtain aid from the United States, Austin found that it would be necessary for the Texans to declare their independence definitively. This was accordingly done on the 2nd of March, 1836. A Constitution was likewise prepared and adopted, and the Republic of Texas began its existence. Upon the very first page of its history is recorded one of the most heroic incidents of modern times.

Santa Anna was himself advancing upon Texas with an army, intending to subjugate the new Republic. In February, 1836, he arrived with one division of his army before San Antonio. Col, W. B. Travis, a young Texan officer, with about one hundred and fifty men, withdrew to the Alamo, a mission located there in 1744 and named after the Cottonwood trees growing in the vicinity. It had ceased to be used as a parish church in 1793 and since that time had become the Fortress of San Antonio.

The events then about to transpire within the walls of the old Spanish mission made "the Alamo" the battle-cry in the war of Texas Independence, and have given the name of "The Alamo City" to San Antonio, the flourishing metropolis of Western Texas. Travis had fourteen cannons of different sizes, and he raised the flag of the temporary government of Texas,—the Mexican colors, red, white, and green, with the figures "1824" in place of the Mexican Eagle on the white stripe. Santa Anna in person conducted the siege of the Alamo. In sending for reinforcements (which never came) Travis wrote, "I shall never surrender or retreat;" and upon the tenth day of the siege, when he wrote to hasten the reinforcements, he stated that he was surrounded by a force variously estimated at from fifteen hundred to six thousand men. Cannon-balls were falling among his men all the time, yet he was prepared to hold the place against the enemy until relief came, or perish in its defense. He kept his word. To those within the fortress he announced the desperate position they were all in, but declared his intention to sell his life as dearly as possible. Almost to a man they agreed to stand by him.

It was at four o'clock in the morning of Sunday, March 6, that the final assault was made and the Alamo fell into the hands of Santa Anna. But the little band fought to the last. Travis fell early in the action, sabered by a Mexican, but not before he had plunged his own sword into the body of his antagonist, both dying at the same time. It had been agreed that when the whole case seemed utterly hopeless to the garrison a match was to be applied to the powder magazine. The Texan appointed to perform this final act was killed with the match in his hand. The whole garrison was put to the sword. Of the brave defenders of the Alamo not one was spared. "Thermopylae had her messengers of defeat, but the Alamo had none."

The same month another fearful tragedy was enacted at Goliad. In the advance of the other division of the Mexican army, San Patricio had fallen into the hands of the Mexicans, and two separate bodies of Texans had been attacked and badly routed. Col. James W, Fannin, in command of four hundred men at Goliad, deemed it necessary to evacuate that place and hasten to Victoria. On the way, at Colita, he encountered the Mexicans, and a fight ensued, lasting all day and resulting in a loss of fourteen Texans killed, and sixty (including Fannin) wounded.

In the night the Mexicans received reinforcements, and when morning dawned the Texans found themselves completely surrounded, and with no course open but to surrender on the best terms they could make. The terms accepted were these: they were to be treated as prisoners of war, according to the usages of civilized nations;  . . . they were to be sent to Copano, and thence, in eight days, to the United States, the officers on parole. Upon being taken back to Goliad they were joined by a party sent out from that place, which had also fallen into the hands of the Mexicans. On the morning of Palm Sunday, March 27, they were all taken out under pretext of starting on their journey home, and every one of them was shot.

This is what a Mexican officer in Goliad wrote to a friend at home: "At six o'clock this morning the execution of 412 American prisoners was begun, and continued until eight o'clock, when the last of the number was shot. At eleven began the operation of burning their bodies. . . . They were all young men (the oldest not more than thirty) and of fine, florid complexions."

Houston had with him near Gonzales less than four hundred raw recruits when he learned of the massacre of the Alamo garrison, and at the same time that three thousand Mexicans were in pursuit of him under the command of Santa Anna himself. Retreating before this overwhelming force, the Texan soldiers had to take the families of the colonists along with them; for to escape butchery at the hands of the Mexicans they were willing to suffer death by any other means. On the retreat, the news of the slaughter of Fannin and his men reached the Texan commander, and he felt that the time had come to decide the fate of the new Republic. The brave words of Travis at the Alamo inspired him to similar utterances. "If only three hundred men remain with me," he said, "I shall die with them or conquer our enemies." He gathered up all the available troops, and then had less than seventy cavalry, about seven hundred infantry, and two small pieces of artillery. Upon reviewing this meager army, Houston remarked, "With these we must conquer or die."

The decisive battle was fought on the banks of the San Jacinto River on the 21st of April, 1836. It secured to the Texans the object of all their struggles. Opposed to them were fifteen hundred Mexicans under General Cos, despite his parole upon his capture at San Antonio the year before. The Texans lost eight killed and seventeen wounded. The Mexicans lost officers of every rank, and over six hundred privates killed and two hundred wounded. Seven hundred Mexicans fell into the hands of the Texans as prisoners, and among them were Santa Anna and his staff. Santa Anna acknowledged the Independence of Texas, and was after a time allowed his liberty, and going first to the United States, eventually returned to Mexico. His subsequent plea in regard to Texas was that his acknowledgment of its independence had been extorted from him under duress of imprisonment.

The Independence of Texas thus secured, the Republic was recognized by the United States, France, England, and Belgium. For eight years it maintained its separate existence, coming into the American Union in 1844 as the twenty-eighth State.