Throwback Thursday: Battle of Palo Alto


BROWNSVILLE, Texas (KVEO) — The Battle of Palo Alto affected the history of the United States and literally for the entire western hemisphere.

The independence of Mexico from Spain in 1821 set in motion a series of power plays in Mexico from 1821 to the time this battle began in 1846. There were about 50 different governments and presidential powers in Mexico in a span of 24 years and that was an underlying feature that affected the Texas revolution in 1836.

Texas revolted because Baja California was ready to splinter off. Northern California had already started a movement of succession as well as other states in Mexico. Why? Because Mexico had abandoned its colonies all out on the field. The area that they were governing was so vast. It went all the way up into Oregon that they could not effectively defend it from the Native American Indians that were there.

One might truly consider General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna as the fly in the ointment. He was president of Mexico eight times during the period from 1821 all the way up to 1846. Every time they entered into a war between the conservatives and the liberals, you name it.

He would take off his presidential hat and put on a war hat and the start of this conflict that they culminated in the battle of Palo Alto Resaca de la Palma and then entered it on into the Mexican-American War.

When President Polk came into the picture and later on in 1845 he had to determine a hard border for the United States. Texas has already gone through the battle of San Jacinto in 1836. They were vying for entry into the union for nine years but you can’t bring Texas into the union without establishing where its borders are.

The French had the Louisiana Territories now on the maps it designates the Rio Grande as their southern border. Again, when you came down to the war with the Texans and the battle of San Jacinto. That designated the Rio Grande as the border but Mexico reneged on that particular treaty and said “no, no, no, no, it’s up in the Nueces.”

General Taylor was assigned to this particular army of occupation. He landed and gathered his forces up on the east coast and gulf coast and he landed in Corpus Christi and began his deployment towards the river. He was coming from Corpus down to what would be Brownsville by the old Spanish Trail, the old Indian Trail.

He was traveling right up to the north here from us and trying to get to building an outpost in Brownsville what you would call Fort Texas later called Fort Brown. The Mexican General that was assigned to this particular conflict was General Arista. He got wind of the movements of Taylor when Taylor crossed the arroyo Colorado and then he began to position himself for a battle because this was actually considered a declaration of war by American troops being on so-called Mexican soil.

The conflict began when Arista saw that Taylor was split between two forces. He had his encampment out in Point Isabel and then he had his other fourth that he was building at Fort Texas which was Fort Brown. So you try to intervene. The technicality on how that conflict began was extremely important for the outcome of the battles of the place. All that took place here set up so much that came afterward in the definition of territories and building of treaties.

The elements that went into this conflict were monumental in terms of the future development of the United States

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