The Republic of Texas
The Republic of Texas
When Mexico won its independence from Spain in 1821, the Mexican government began actively enticing Americans to move to Texas, offering them land at low prices. The Mexicans wanted Americans to settle Texas for two reasons. First, the Americans would draw the fire of the Apache and Comanche raiders to whom northeast Texas was home. Second, settlers of Texas would presumably side with Mexico against any attempted U.S. invasion and takeover of Texas.
The plan was so successful that it backfired on the Mexican government. By 1830, American Texans outnumbered Mexican Texans by two to one. Worried that the American settlers would after all be loyal to U.S. interests, Mexico banned further immigration from the United States and prohibited slavery in Texas. However, both bans proved unenforceable.
In 1833, General Antonio López de Santa Anna was elected president of Mexico. When he developed into a military dictator, residents of Texas led an armed rebellion against the government. In 1835, Texans captured the town of San Antonio. In early 1836, Santa Anna arrived at the head of an army to sub- due the revolt. The Mexicans laid siege to the Alamo, a fort near San Antonio where the Texans were holding their position. On March 6, Santa Anna’s army battled for control of the fort. All the defenders of the Alamo were killed. In April, Sam Houston led the Texans against the Mexicans near the San Jacinto River. They took Santa Anna prisoner and forced him to sign a treaty granting Texas its independence. Sam Houston was elected the first president of the Republic of Texas in 1836. Mexico, pointing out that Santa Anna had signed the treaty under duress, refused to recognize Texan independence.
In 1837, Texas applied to the U.S. Congress for statehood. Since northerners in Congress did not want to admit another slaveholding state to the Union, and even some southern congressmen were hesitant to take a step that would infuriate the Mexican government, Texas remained an independent republic until 1845.
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