Tampico Expedition

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: July 1, 1995

After his election to the presidency of Mexico in 1833, Antonio López de Santa Anna left the inauguration of the new liberal policy to the vice president, Valentín Gómez Farías, went into political retirement for a few months, and emerged as leader of the reaction. He assumed dictatorial powers, dissolving state and national legislatures. Insurrections broke out at various points; Zacatecas, Coahuila, and Texas refused to accept centralism, holding to the Constitution of 1824. In New Orleans a movement, led by George Fisher and José Antonio Mexía, began at Bank's Arcade on October 13, 1835; the members of the movement raised men and money for an expedition to attack Tampico in an effort to stir up an insurrection in the eastern states of Mexico. Mexía, who was to lead the expedition, communicated the plan to the Texas leaders who approved it, although some, Stephen F. Austin among them, advocated an attack on Matamoros instead. Counting on the support of the liberals known to be among the members of the garrison at Tampico, Mexía and his 150 "efficient emigrants" left New Orleans on November 6, 1835, on the schooner Mary Jane. The schooner ran aground off the bar of Tampico on November 14. This disaster, together with a premature uprising of the garrison on November 13 and the arrival of fresh troops from Tuxpan, upset Mexía's plans; he attacked the city held by Gregorio Gómez on November 15, was defeated, withdrew on the American schooner Halcyon, and embarked for the mouth of the Brazos River, where he landed his troops on December 3. Thirty-one prisoners were left at Tampico; of these, three died of wounds; the others were tried by court martial and shot on December 14.

Hubert Howe Bancroft, History of the North Mexican States and Texas (2 vols., San Francisco: History Company, 1886, 1889). Eugene C. Barker, "The Tampico Expedition," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 6 (January 1903).

Time Periods:

  • Texas Revolution

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Anonymous, “Tampico Expedition,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed January 22, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/tampico-expedition.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

July 1, 1995