Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Santa Ana's Leg

Santa Anna....
Known for his cruel Massacre at the Alamo was involved in other schemes, plots & pursuits. He introduced chewing gum into the U.S., While in New York looking for ways to finance a new political career, he met Samuel Adams who was trying to figure out ways to make latex tires for carriages. Santa Ana sold him a ton of chicle gum from the zapote tree of Mexico. While experimenting one day, Adams daughter asked if she could have a piece to chew on, this inspired him to flavor it and sell it as a treat. It became an instant success and Adams Chiclet Gum was born. Adams became a millionaire and Santa Ana died impoverished. So the next time you sit or step in gum remember it was Santa Ana's fault.
Back around 1838 some of Santa Anas troups in Mexico City broke into a bakery on Tacubayo street and ate all the cakes & pastries, The shop was owned by a Frenchman named Remontel who put in a protest to the French ambassador. The price of the pastries was about $6000 pesos, Harsh words were spoken & the argument went on for months, finally France made a declaration saying Mexico owed $600,000 pesos, an exhorbitant amount at a time when the minimum wage was $1 peso a day. Mexico refused, France sent a warship & bombarded Veracruz, took over the port and Mexico declared war.
Santa Ana was living in Xalapa at the time and saw it as a chance to reenter politics, without authorization he gathered a scraggly band of men and descended on the port to wage war. Admiral Charles Baudin in charge of the Ship ordered his men back on board the vessel, Santa Ana on the docks ranted & screamed when suddenly a single canon shot of grapeshot came from the ship and hit Santa Ana in the leg, it seemed like a scene from a hollywood epic, Santa Ana went on and on as to how he was laying down his life for his country. He was taken to a hospital where his leg had to be amputated. Meanwhile the Gov't agreed to pay the debt with interest at a later date & the french departed. the war was over. Santa Ana wore a cork leg after that & he never failed to mention how he had given his leg in patriotic bravery.
Years later while chasing Sam Houston near San Jacinto, he along with a few soldiers stopped to rest under a shade tree and he took his leg off to rest it. Suddenly a group of Texicans rode up so his soldier escort picked Santa Ana up and placed him in a wagon and rapidly galloped off, leaving the leg resting against the tree. The Texans liberated the leg & took it as a Souvenir, it's now in a museum in Illinois.
During the Sesquicentennial of the Alamo(1985), someone in the U.S. Government mentioned that they had seen the flag that flew over the Alamo in a dusty glass case in the basement of Chapultepec Castle. So The Texas Gov't. wrote a letter saying they wondered if the Mexican Gov't. would be willing to trade the flag for the cork leg.
Someone, I believe it was the Secretary of the President of Mexico wrote back saying... "we don't want the leg of a man that lost half of our country. besides that Mexican boys paid for that flag with their blood."

Here's an interesting quote from Porfirio Diaz who was President/Dictator of Mexico for 30 years (1880=1910).
"Poor Mexico, So far from God and so close to the United States"


Bob Mrotek said...

If I recall correctly Santa Ana had a big funeral for his real leg. James Michner wrote a book called "The Eagle and the Raven" about Santa Ana and Sam Houston. The history of Santa Ana is quite bizarre. Your post is an excellent synopsis of what happened in "the pastry war".

Stephen said...

Good Morning Bob and those listening in,

I just posted a "One photo/One Video" article on Santa Anna on my blog which may interest some people.

Go to --

Bob Mrotek said...

Great pictures! You made my day. Thanks :)

Sandman said...

You got your information WAY out of kilter.
"Years later while chasing Sam Houston near San Jacinto, he along with a few soldiers stopped to rest under a shade tree and he took his leg off to rest it."
San Jacinto was several years BEFORE the Pastry War, in which he lost the live leg. He lost the Cork leg a decade later in the Mexican-American War

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