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History, The Texas Revolution

Treaty of Velasco, Moses Austin, Franciscan mission, annexation of Texas, abolished slavery

In the early 1800s Texas was a sparsely populated and weakly governed region that functioned as part of the Mexican state of Coahuila and Texas. In 1820 Moses Austin, a U.S. citizen, received permission from the Mexican government to bring American settlers to the region. He died shortly thereafter, but his son, Stephen F. Austin, was allowed to continue with the project in 1821. By the 1830s most of the residents of Texas were immigrants from the southern United States. These new residents of Texas soon had differences with the Mexican government, which had abolished slavery in 1829 and in 1830 had passed a law that prohibited further immigration from the United States.

In 1834 a political crisis resulted in the overthrow of the constitution of 1824, which had created the federal republic of Mexico. A new centralist constitution, which stripped the Mexican states of their autonomy, was enacted in 1836. Protests and revolts rocked the country, but the conservatives prevailed. However, the protests against centralization encouraged the Texans to rebel against Mexican authority in 1835, in what came to be known as the Texas Revolution. President Santa Anna, alarmed and anxious to avoid the unraveling of the nation, arrived in San Antonio, Texas, in early 1836, where his troops defeated a small group of Texans at The Alamo, a Franciscan mission that had been converted into a fort.

The subsequent execution of more than 280 Texan prisoners at Goliad, by order of Santa Anna, ended any hope of political compromise. At the Battle of San Jacinto Santa Anna’s forces were defeated by troops under the command of Texan leader Sam Houston. In May 1836 Santa Anna signed the Treaty of Velasco, in which he agreed to order Mexican troops in Texas to retreat south of the Rio Grande, a major river known as the Rio Bravo in Mexico, and to persuade the Mexican government to accept the independence of Texas. Mexico refused to acknowledge the independent republic but made no serious effort to regain control of the territory.

Meanwhile, Texans elected Houston to be the first president of the Republic of Texas. The short-lived republic was annexed by the United States less than a decade later. The Texas Revolution and the annexation of Texas by the United States were among the factors that led to the outbreak of war between the United States and Mexico in 1846.

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