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Mexican Federalists declare independence at Laredo convention

January
17
1840

On this day in 1840, leaders of the Mexican Federalist party met in Laredo to declare the independence of the ill-fated Republic of the Rio Grande. Since 1835, with the ascension of Antonio López de Santa Anna to the presidency of Mexico, Federalist leaders had attempted to force a return to the Constitution of 1824. The Federalists claimed the areas of Tamaulipas and Coahuila north to the Nueces and Medina rivers, respectively, and Nuevo León, Zacatecas, Durango, Chihuahua, and New Mexico. Antonio Canales Rosillo, commander-in-chief of the new republic's army, took the field against Centralist general Mariano Arista at Morales, Coahuila, in March 1840 and was disastrously defeated. Canales with his few remaining troops retreated to San Antonio, while the provisional government fled to Victoria, Texas. Canales then toured Texas in an effort to raise interest and aid for the continuance of his campaign. About 140 Americans joined his army under Col. Samuel W. Jordan, who led a successful expedition to capture Ciudad Victoria before being forced to retreat to Texas in October. Canales capitulated at Camargo in November 1840. He was taken into the Centralist army as an officer, and Federalism was dead for the time being.

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