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Mexico: The Loss of Texas
Country Study > Chapter 1 > Historical Setting > Empire and Early Republic, 1821-55 > Centralism and the Caudillo State, 1836-55 > The Loss of Texas

THE LOSS OF TEXAS


Texas (known as Tejas) had been part of New Spain since the early colonial period. In 1821 in an effort to colonize and populate Texas, the Spanish commander in Monterrey granted a concession to a United States pioneer, Moses Austin, to settle the area under the Roman Catholic faith. Land could be acquired for a nominal charge of US$0.25 per hectare, and soon colonists from the United States started to pour into the area. By 1835 they outnumbered the Mexicans, four to one. Texas had no autonomous government and was politically attached to the state of Coahuila. Most Mexicans began to fear the incursions by North Americans and the possibility of losing Texas to the United States. Restrictions were placed on the future immigration of colonists from the United States, and slavery was abolished in 1829 in the hope of discouraging United States southerners from moving into the area.

Santa Anna's move to bring Texas under the political domination of Mexico City pushed the Texans to secede from Mexico on November 7, 1835, and to declare their independence in March 1836. In 1835 Santa Anna marched north in the direction of San Antonio with an army of 3,000 men. He reached San Antonio in March 1836 and learned that about 150 armed Texans had taken refuge at an old Franciscan mission, called the Alamo. He laid siege to the mission for several days before the final attack on March 6, 1836. The Mexican force took the mission the next day, killing all but five of the defenders in battle (the five prisoners were later executed). On March 23, the Texan town of Goliad was surrounded by Mexican forces, who compelled the Texan commander in charge to surrender. On express orders from Santa Anna, 365 prisoners were executed. The events at the Alamo and at Goliad stirred strong anti-Mexican sentiment in the United States. Volunteer fighters poured into Texas to stage a decisive blow against Santa Anna. The Mexican commander in chief and his army were ambushed and roundly defeated near the San Jacinto River by a force commanded by Sam Houston on April 21. Santa Anna, who had fled the scene of the battle, was captured by the Texans two days later.

While under custody of the Texans, Santa Anna signed two treaties with the Texas government: one ended hostilities by pledging the withdrawal of Mexican troops to positions south of the Río Bravo del Norte (Rio Grande), and the other, a secret treaty, recognized Texan independence from Mexico.




Last Updated: June 1996


Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Mexico was first published in 1996. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on Factba.se.

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