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José Antonio Mejía

Lifespan: (1790 – 1839)


José Antonio Mejía (1790-1839) was of Cuban origin and joined the Mexican army in (unknown date), rising to the rank of Brigadier General in 1832.

He accompanied Santa Anna in the battles of Tulancingo of January 1828, Tampico in August-September 1829, and Guanajuato in October 1833.

He supported Santa Anna’s Plan of Perote of September 1828 and accompanied him from Perote to Oaxaca, being involved in the clash of arms that ensued in Oaxaca in November-December that year.

He also backed Santa Anna’s Plan of Veracruz of 2 January 1832, sending him reinforcements from Tampico.

He served briefly as José María Tornel’s secretary in Baltimore, in 1830-31, and became involved with Lorenzo Zavala in the speculation and sale of Texan land. As a result of his entrepreneurial activities, Mejía was severely criticised by Tornel and it is possible that Tornel’s animosity towards him eventually led Santa Anna to view Mejía with mistrust. A

lthough Mejía fought alongside Santa Anna against Mariano Arista’s forces in 1833, in 1835 he found himself backing the Texan revolt against his former comrade in arms. Mejía led a failed expedition in November 1835 from New Orleans to Tampico against Santa Anna’s government rebelling against the abolition of the 1824 Federal Constitution.

Three years later, Mejía, together with José Urrea, was one of the leaders of the federalist pronunciamiento of Santa Anna de Tamaulipas (present-day Tampico) of 16 December 1838 and led a rebel army to the province of Puebla where he was defeated by Santa Anna, Tornel and Gabriel Valencia’s forces at the battle of Acajete of 3 May 1839.

Following his capture he was given three hours of grace and then executed. It is alleged that when he heard of the order he replied: “Had Santa Anna fallen into my power, I would not have given him more than three minutes”.

Signatory of
Modificaciones al Plan de Perote (5 November 1828; Oaxaca, Oaxaca)

Leader and signatory of
Plan de la junta anfictiónica de Nuevo Orleans (6 September 1835; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, Abroad)

Secretary and signatory of
Plan de Perote (16 September 1828; Perote, Veracruz)