Santa Anna is one of the most interesting figures in Mexican political history, having been President/Dictator of Mexico some 10 times during his career. He began in the Spanish Army fighting against Mexican independence but switched sides and helped free Mexico from Spanish rule and install its first emperor, when it was in his interest to do so. Not content with his reward in this effort, he dethroned the emperor, and installed himself as the head of government. In 1836, he attempted to put down the revolt of U.S. citizens living in Texas who wanted Texas to join the U.S. He is best known in the U.S. for his slaughter of many Americans at the Alamo during this struggle. Soon after the Alamo, he was defeated by Sam Houston at San Jacinto, and Texas was granted its independence. After this, Santa Anna was in and out of power - and in and out of Mexico - for the rest of his life. He returned to Mexico in 1874 for the final time, and died in poverty in Mexico City.