Familiar Strangers

Santa Anna Goes to Washington

Washington, 1839 Washington City, 1839, viewed from across the Anacostia River.

What happens when recent enemies travel together for two months, through a land where one of the travelers is reviled?

In 1836-37, that is precisely what Mexican President Antonio López de Santa Anna, his translator Colonel Juan Almonte, and Republic of Texas officials Barnard Bee, George Washington Hockley, and William H. Patton did. Earlier in 1836, they had been on opposite sides of the Texas Revolution. But now they crossed the United States together, causing a sensation where they stopped. The five men headed toward Washington to meet Andrew Jackson, seventh President of the United States.

“Santa Anna Goes to Washington” tells this little-known story. The five men’s travels offer us a glimpse into how people from the United States perceived Mexicans less than a decade before the two countries fought a war that decided the fate of a continent. Come join in the journey.

Credits

David Patrick McKenzie