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GreatUberGeek

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Why, I didn't even realize that my avatar was Christmassy! I just chose it because it was the communist flag for New England. :p
The Texan War has started, and Santa Anna has taken over! Wonderful writing as always, especially the opening. Have you ever seen the Far Side comic about Santa Anna?
 

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Why, I didn't even realize that my avatar was Christmassy! I just chose it because it was the communist flag for New England. :p
I'm having a hard time believing that. :p

A wonderful overview of the nascent republic(s). As is my wont, I'm quietly hoping the US get their Manifest Destiny hats on and cut your borders back to their historical level. Though one cannot ignore the fun that would be had with a Gran México still in place come the later stages of the game.

Interesting that the country starts as a dictatorship – though Santa Anna's wanton flitting in and out of office doesn't inspire the greatest confidence in the integrity of the presidency. I trust the next few years (decades?) will prove full of anti-dictatorial goings-on by the opposition – even if that's only so that they can be re-subsumed into some sort of hideous Habsburg regime. After all, you're hardly going to let France beat you in the "how many different republics can we found?" stakes, are you? A brief liberal Third Republic would help you along somewhat on that front. :D
 

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Mexico, so far from God, so close to the United States.
In this timeline things will be rather different. ;)

Definitely should have played Concert of Europe - you could have kept that rowdy USCA in the glorious Empire.
Nah. Having played a few games of CoE as both Mexico and a few other nations I'm rather glad I stuck to regular PDM. CoE makes playing Mexico far too easy and uninteresting IMO.

Why, I didn't even realize that my avatar was Christmassy! I just chose it because it was the communist flag for New England. :p
That raises more questions than it does answers! :p

The Texan War has started, and Santa Anna has taken over!
Well, sort of. Technically his deputy is the President, at least until such time as he sees fit to re-assume the mantle of Mexican Head of State.

Wonderful writing as always, especially the opening. Have you ever seen the Far Side comic about Santa Anna?
I must confess that I haven't. :blush:

A wonderful overview of the nascent republic(s). As is my wont, I'm quietly hoping the US get their Manifest Destiny hats on and cut your borders back to their historical level.
I can't help but think that that is the Vicky equivalent of going into a defiant Polish/Czech AAR for HoI3 rooting for the Germans. :p

Though one cannot ignore the fun that would be had with a Gran México still in place come the later stages of the game.

Interesting that the country starts as a dictatorship – though Santa Anna's wanton flitting in and out of office doesn't inspire the greatest confidence in the integrity of the presidency. I trust the next few years (decades?) will prove full of anti-dictatorial goings-on by the opposition
Oh yes, even though Mexico is a presidential dictatorship, it still has an elected TPS upper house. Therefore our dictatorship will be of the sham, pseudo-democratic variety, somewhat similar to the one the USCA had in Mondo's AAR.

even if that's only so that they can be re-subsumed into some sort of hideous Habsburg regime.
I think you mean glorious Habsburg regime. :p

After all, you're hardly going to let France beat you in the "how many different republics can we found?" stakes, are you? A brief liberal Third Republic would help you along somewhat on that front. :D
Given that the AAR starts in 1836, there may not be quite so many French Republics in this AAR. I for one welcome France's Bonapartist overlords. :)
 

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I'm not too late to catch up now am I Tanzhang (譚張)? :p

Although, I hope the US AI somehow manages to CRUSH you!! EMPIRE OF LIBERTY FOREVER! ;)
 

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I can't help but think that that is the Vicky equivalent of going into a defiant Polish/Czech AAR for HoI3 rooting for the Germans. :p
Oh, not at all; the Third Reich had such horrible, bloated borders, and I would be fully supportive of anyone trying to keep them to their 1919 ebb. Actually, I'd probably be even more supportive of anyone wishing to conquer that incongruous exclave in Ostpreußen. :)
 

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I'm not too late to catch up now am I Tanzhang (譚張)? :p
Oh good heavens no, having you aboard is always a pleasure! In any case, you have far less catching up to do here than I have to do on your Presidents. :blush:

Although, I hope the US AI somehow manages to CRUSH you!! EMPIRE OF LIBERTY FOREVER! ;)
I think that in this timeline, Mexico shall have a greater claim to that title than the United States. After all, Mexico is both (or will be, rather) an actual Empire and a slave-free zone. :p

Oh, not at all; the Third Reich had such horrible, bloated borders, and I would be fully supportive of anyone trying to keep them to their 1919 ebb. Actually, I'd probably be even more supportive of anyone wishing to conquer that incongruous exclave in Ostpreußen. :)
1914 German borders best German borders; unless you're Polish of course.

I think that with all this undue criticism about poor Mexico's borders my only solution will be to aim for the total annexation of the United States. :p
 

KanyeWest

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1914 German borders best German borders; unless you're Polish of course.
And they've never stolen anything in their country's history, right?
*Cough* ODER-NEISSE LINE *Cough*
 

GreatUberGeek

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I'm having a hard time believing that. :p
Well, it's true! It's just a happy coincidence. :p
That raises more questions than it does answers! :p
Well, New England cause that's where I live, and communist because that is my ideology. Hope that answers any questions. :).


I must confess that I haven't. :blush:
Well, I can't appear to find it, but the basic gist was that Santa Anna gave his son the first Davy Crockett hat. :p If you catch my drift.
 

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Your not a Commie GuG, stop trying to be hip! :p
 

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99KingHigh

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Well, a socialist at least. :p
Hamilton would be ashamed.

Also, I do hope Agustín Jerónimo de Iturbide y Huarte reclaims his father's throne. These dastarly Republicans.
 

GreatUberGeek

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Hamilton would be ashamed.
I worship Hamilton. I think Jefferson was rather wrongheaded but also admirable in many aspects. No one must know of the 500 page fan fiction.

And of course a mandatory Viva la Republic.
 

99KingHigh

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I worship Hamilton. I think Jefferson was rather wrongheaded but also admirable in many aspects. No one must know of the 500 page fan fiction.

And of course a mandatory Viva la Republic.
Hamilton was a Monarchist, comrade.
 

GreatUberGeek

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Tommy4ever

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Have you read ComradeOM's Mexican masterpiece from Vicky I? It was a great read. :)

Nice starting place here, hoping to see this Mexican state ripped apart by those centrifugal forces you mentioned ;).

See yah at the Alamo.
 

LordTempest

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You've set the stage very nicely Tanzhang, looking forward to the action getting started.
Welcome aboard, it's a pleasure to have you along as always Jape. :)

And they've never stolen anything in their country's history, right?
*Cough* ODER-NEISSE LINE *Cough*


WWell, New England cause that's where I live, and communist because that is my ideology. Hope that answers any questions. :).

Well, a socialist at least. :p

I worship Hamilton. I think Jefferson was rather wrongheaded but also admirable in many aspects.

And of course a mandatory Viva la Republic.

Even better. God Save the Queen.
Your views are in a deep state of contradiction and are incompatible with the ideological harmony that is communism, comrade. Report to a re-education camp near you and engage in rigourous self-criticism immediately.

No one must know of the 500 page fan fiction.
Er, what kind of fan fiction are we talking about here? :p

Your not a Commie GuG, stop trying to be hip! :p
Doesn't he know that this year Whigs are in fashion? Communism is so last season. :p

. Also, I do hope Agustín Jerónimo de Iturbide y Huarte reclaims his father's throne. These dastarly Republicans.
Not happening. Unless of course reactionary rebels take over at one point...

Have you read ComradeOM's Mexican masterpiece from Vicky I? It was a great read. :)
Of course! I suppose you can say that the title of this AAR is something of a homage to it.

Nice starting place here, hoping to see this Mexican state ripped apart by those centrifugal forces you mentioned ;).

See yah at the Alamo.
Whoa, tough crowd. Is there anyone out there reading this AAR that actually wants Mexico to succeed? :p

In any case, it's great to have you along as always, Tommy. :)
 

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LordTempest

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LordTempest

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Every now and then there comes a time in a nation's history where events seem to be dictated solely by the whims and actions of one man; for Mexico the events of 1836-37 were such a time, and that man was Santa Anna. Despite technically vacating the office of President to his deputy upon the outbreak of war with Texas, Santa Anna nevertheless retained an iron grip on power, frequently dictating his orders to his now nominal superior, the President, from the front. Said orders were frequently obeyed and carried out to the letter.


As you can see, Mexico starts out as a fairly autocratic presidential dictatorship, with no social reforms yet enacted. On the plus side we start out with slavery already abolished, which nets us a small prestige boost (which is neutered by the truly nasty “Government Resistance” modifier you can see above) and with an “elected” two per state upper house, which, as we're a dictatorship, is in effect the same thing as having a ruling party only upper house. This, suffice it to say, will make passing reforms in the short term rather difficult.

The old general's first thoughts in a time of civil war naturally turned to the state of the army. An army, like the proverbial fish, is said to rot from the head, and in 1836 the Mexican army was rotten indeed: filled with poorly-trained soldiers equipped with out-of-date weapons – some of which probably saw service in the Seven Years War – led by officers who, more often than not owed their position to birth or wealth rather than to merit or ability. A corrupt, reactionary institution resistant to almost any reform or change, previous efforts to reform the military had met with stern and uniform resistance from its upper echelons, much to Santa Anna's chagrin. He had long called for the need of a modern, forward-thinking officer corps whereby merit, not social status, was the prime qualification for promotion, and for the implementation of a general staff along Prussian lines, but hitherto had been rebuffed at every turn, even while President. Even a dictator was not always able to do as he pleased. The outbreak of war however gave Santa Anna carte blanche to push through his much-needed modernisation of the Mexican military.


If we were playing as literally anyone else (apart from perhaps Bolivia-Peru or the USCA) in this dire tech situation we probably would have opted first for either for Malthusian Thought or Freedom of Trade. However, like the Sybil, I see the future of Mexico as being filled with wars, horrible wars and the Rio Grande foaming with much (mostly American) blood; the sooner we improve our army, the better.

Santa Anna had an army of 21,000 men at his disposal, over twice the size of that of the Texans but nevertheless inferior in terms of both equipment and experience. Whereas Sam Houston's Texans were well-led, battle-hardened and and equipped with the latest American rifles and guns, only three brigades, or about 9000 Mexican soldiers were regular army, the rest being made up of three brigades of auxiliary infantry and one brigade of hussars. The lack of any holding battlefield artillery brigades was a notable deficiency on the part of the Mexican army, one which Santa Anna was quick to rectify. Santa Anna knew full well that although he possessed a numerical advantage over the Texans, his mostly auxiliary troops would fare poorly in a pitched battle against a superior opponent. Just as his new officer corps would have to be built from scratch, so would a force capable of taking on the Texans in open battle; his Mexican New Model Army.


In PDM, regulars are basically weaker versions of guards that you can recruit at the start of the game (Guards, conversely, can't be recruited until 1880 at the very earliest) while infantry are little better than irregulars (although they don't suffer from the 50% discipline penalty like irregulars do.) We'll be aiming to have as many regulars in service as possible, and to only rely on infantry when absolutely necessary.

In order to fund his planned military expansion, the general petitioned the President to levy war taxes, ostensibly needed to pay for the recruitment of new weapons and military supplies. Though a good deal of the funds raised did indeed go towards that, in reality however the war taxes were little more than a cover for their true purpose: to pay for a 15% pay rise for the army. In true Romanesque fashion, Santa Anna was most concerned about the loyalty of those in the armed forces, lest in this time of great civil disobedience, they rebel.


Unless there is a danger of literacy growth falling into the red, there really is no point in funding education without us possessing even the most rudimentary literacy-boosting techs: Malthusian Thought and Freedom of Trade.

Even in a time of war and civil strife, no Head of State, de facto or de jure, could afford to neglect domestic policy. For Santa Anna, this more than anything meant a reassertion of the values and principles which so led to the revolution and the foundation of the (Centralist) Mexican Republic in the first place: the free and equal rights of men.


While the Mexican government paid lip service to the pamphlets of Paine, the dictatorship naturally took great pains to censor the more anti-authoritarian prose in Paine's texts when said arguments were not solely directed against either monarchy or the landed aristocracy, for fear that they would fuel the fires of rebellion and dissent against the dictatorship. In Centralist Mexico, Common Sense really was anything but common.

The contentious issue of immigration was also a top priority for the incumbent administration. Santa Anna and his ex-deputy knew full well that in order to keep the gears of the not-so-mighty Mexican war machine turning, Mexico would need to maintain the steady inflow of immigrants that were crucial to the successful running of the nation's economy. To avoid a repeat of the Belize and Texan crises, Miguel Barragán (the de jure Head of State) authorised the creation of the Secretariat for Immigration and Border Protection, a government department tasked solely with the promotion and management of immigration. Barragán theorised that said crises had been caused not by immigration per se, but by the mismanagement of immigration: allowing Britons and Americans to settle in large numbers in sparsely-populated regions was a colossal error, which only delayed their integration into Mexican society and encouraged the practice of illegal customs, such as slavery. The solution was to focus settlement in areas which already had a large Mexican population, the ministry opting for the areas around the capital and the province of Durango as a trial.


If Rovsea has taught us anything (and Rovsea most definitely has) it's that immigration is the key to success when playing as a sparsely-populated New World nation such as Mexico. In PDM, possessing a large population gives you a research points bonus, which given our dire tech situation makes it even more important to boost our numbers as soon as possible. It is imperative for Mexico to use her national foci to stimulate immigration as we are: not a democracy, have few political reforms enacted, don't have liberty as our national value (+50% immigrant attraction) nor have a special decision which we can pass at the start of the game which gives us +30% immigration attraction for nothing. The Great Blue Terror to our north of course has all of these things, in addition to a hefty +110% IA bonus from enacted political reforms, and will therefore steal as many immigrants otherwise headed for Mexico as they possibly can! Perfidious Albion America indeed!

The policies above mentioned have been for the most part, highly uncontroversial and commonsensical, utterly devoid of the chaotic brilliance with which one typically associates with a man of such crazed genius as Santa Anna. Indeed, Santa Anna would save his insane and most unpredictable best for the realm of foreign policy, for Mexico was not the only state caught in the depths of civil strife: wide-scale rebellion had also broken out in the neighbouring USCA, as competing domestic rivalries spilled over into outright violence between Guatemalans on the one hand and Costa Ricans, Hondurans, El Salvadorans, Los Altans and Nicaraguans on the other. For Mexico the Central American revolts presented a potential internal security risk: it was well known that the people of Northern Chiapas and Yucátan possessed a certain sympathy for the Centroamericans and a strong distaste for direct rule; fear among the wealthy classes that rioting might spill over into Mexican lands was widespread.

Here Santa Anna opted to play his trump card: he ordered all his divisions ready and holding to march, not northward towards Texas, but southward, right into Centroamerican Chiapas. Much to the surprise of his officers and footsoldiers alike, who surely expected the Texan rebels to be their next target, a state of war was now in existence between the Republic of Mexico and the United Provinces of Central America.


Tanzhang's First Law of 19th Century American Politics: always kick a neighbour when he's down. Always.

News of the outbreak of hostilities was greeted with a mixture of shock, anger and confusion throughout both the Mexican and Centroamerican republics. Mexico's Congress was stunned that a mere general, even one who was also a distinguished ex-President, possessed the power to unilaterally determine Mexico's entire foreign policy on a whim, without either forewarning or apparent reason, and not for the first (or indeed, for the last) time. Even more incomprehensible was the fact that anyone would be insane enough to declare war on a nation while already fighting a civil war, and to then take the nation's entire military strength down south to fight this foreign war, while apparently giving the rebels free range to conquer and occupy the rest of the country. To observers both within Mexico and from without, Santa Anna's gambit appeared to be the very definition of insanity, but to those with a good grasp of the realities of Texas and Mexico's respective military strengths there was method in Santa Anna's apparent madness.


We start the game with all our troops bordering the USCA and with a core on a USCA province while the USCA is suffering from an acute outbreak of rebel-itis; it's almost as if the game wants us to invade them.

Fears for Santa Anna's sanity led to a parliamentary revolt in both Houses of the Mexican Congress. President Barragán was ailing – he would be dead before the month was out – and appeared unable to check either the power or influence of the apparently mad and unhinged General Santa Anna, who increasingly was forced by Barragán's incapacitation to make the real decisions of state as we have seen. Discontent was rife within the military too. Santa Anna would have to act quickly and decisively if he wanted to avoid a parliamentary or military coup; it would be a challenge he'd meet with characteristic aplomb. Upon hearing urgent word of Barragán's deteriorating health, Santa Anna left command of the besieging army in Southern Chiapas in the hands of his brother-in-law, Martin de Cos,[1] with concise instructions to march forward to Guatemala City and crush any military dissent, Centroamerican or Mexican alike, along the way. Santa Anna rushed to the capital immediately, keeping only a small mounted guard and staff present with him for maximum mobility. Once he had spoken with the bed-ridden Barragán and held council with his trusted advisors and with what few partisans he still possessed within Congress, Santa Anna concluded that the only way to prevent a further descent into anarchy was to brazen it out with Congress, to browbeat its members with a show of bravado and force. Santa Anna forced his way into the Houses while in session, armed soldiers ready and by his side lest they be needed, and demanded the immediate right to address both Houses; the Congressmen were in little position to refuse.

There, with the ear of the Congress, Santa Anna gave for a full hour and a half, a truly inspired oratorical performance, a rhetorical flourish Bolívarian in style and tone worthy of even the great Liberator himself. In it Santa Anna positioned himself as the saviour of Mexico, the man of the hour, indeed the only man in Mexico with the unique combination of the right skills and abilities needed to save the nation from crisis. He reminded his audience of the disquiet rumblings reverberating from the USCA into the dark jungles of the Yucatán and Chiapas, that war with the USCA far from being a distraction or a pointless venture, had been necessary for the maintenance of internal peace. Santa Anna announced, with necessary authority and impact and to much applause from the Conservative Deputies and Senators present, that he had just ordered the entire Mexican fleet[2] to launch a blockade of Galveston Bay, and for them to stop any and all inbound shipping from reaching Texan Ports. Obviously this was a lie, a statement of intent rather than a report after the fact as Santa Anna would have had no time to issue such an order yet, but the Generalissimo spoke with such authority that only a few present in the chamber doubted his word; certainly none dared to do so openly. He continued that the blockade was necessary to avoid bloodshed with Mexico's “wayward brethren”, that it would deprive Texas of supplies and munitions, and would strangle the nascent rebellion at birth like a baby in its cradle – the harsh Mexican desert would do the rest. A confident young Liberal deputy cried out: “A naval blockade won't stop the Americans!” to which Santa Anna curtly replied, “No, but it might well stop the Texans.” A weak riposte, but one which nevertheless had the desired effect upon the house.

In actual fact the young deputy was absolutely right, something Santa Anna knew full well. The blockade, and the entire Fabianesque strategy Santa Anna constructed around it was merely a smokescreen, a piece of rhetorical prestidigitation designed to give the impression that Santa Anna was doing something about the Texan rebellion when in fact he was doing nothing, and indeed could do nothing, until his New Model Army were fighting-fit and equipped for battle. Until then, Santa Anna would need to keep up the pretence that he was an all-seeing, all-knowing man of action on whom the very fate of the nation depended. It worked, and the House immediately expressed its vote of confidence in the General following his now legendary address. There was no doubt in anyone's mind as to whom would be invested as Barragán's successor, and, on the 3rd of February 1836, President Barragán formally left office due to ill health, appointing with the full and complete backing of Congress and to the surprise of virtually no one, none other than his predecessor Santa Anna as his successor. The Generalissimo was back, and with a vengeance.


One interesting feature about PDM is that it adds a series of Hearts of Iron style Heads of Government to the game, each with their own pros and cons. Sadly most of them are generic, but some of the historical ones like Santa Anna here are actually quite powerful. Note that his organisation bonus is equivalent to that gained from discovering Military Staff System: this grants Mexico a temporary organisation advantage over every American nation except (sadly) Texas and the United States.

Perhaps surprisingly for a “nation” fighting for its independence, Texas took the initiative in its war of liberation, marching into Mexican lands and laying waste to Mexican holdings in Laredo. Publicly, Santa Anna applauded what he dismissed as Sam Houston's “catastrophic strategic blunder,” reassuring Mexicans that by taking the fight to Mexico, the Texans would exacerbate the effects of his Fabianesque strategy and the Mexican blockade. By marching further and further into Mexican territory and stretching his supply line thinner and thinner in the process, the Hannibal of the Rio Grande was sowing the seeds of his own destruction.

The Southern Campaign meanwhile couldn't have been more of a contrast. General Martin de Cos was conducting a lightning campaign, occupying the entirety of Southern Chiapas within two months and forcing the Centroamericans on the back foot. Favouring the romantic over the realistic, he spurned oragnised, methodical warfare, instead relying on reckless charges on horse and on foot to break and scatter enemy formations. As a result General de Cos won battles and won them both quickly and with relative ease, but he also in the process sacrificed more men than he perhaps needed to in order to get the job done. Thankfully for Mexico, the Centroamericans were far more ill-disciplined, ill-equipped, tired, demoralised and war-weary than they were; one can understand why Santa Anna might want such a man to be as far away from the Texan Campaign as humanly possible.


[i[For those wondering about our Murat's stats: Martin de Cos is an impulsive aristocrat, which gives him a +10% bonus to speed and experience, a +5% bonus to morale, a -5% penalty to organisation (which negates the Santa Anna bonus) and a -0.20 penalty to both attack and defence.[/i]

That being said, the man was a master of the fine art of leading scores and scores of men to their deaths in glorious yet suicidal charges. When he had the good fortune to drive the enemy back so that their backs were turned to him however, Martin de Cos was in his element, and at the Rout of Quetzaltanango he proved that he could pursue and destroy a fleeing enemy with the very best of them.


Who needs organisation when you've got speed?

General de Cos was also accomplished in the arts of scouting and reconnaissance. Upon hearing word of a weak and disoriented Centroamerican army reinforcing in the nearby province of Guatemala, he pushed on to seize the advantage, bypassing the rest of Quetzaltanango and headed straight for his prize, just outside the enemy's capital. The Centroamericans barely knew what hit them.


Hell it was in that dusk to be a Centroamerican, but to be a separatist would be relatively tolerable.

In fact, with the war going so well, Santa Anna felt that it might be nice to help himself to a bit of extra ex-Mex territory; not too much though, he wouldn't want Mexico to go through yet another bout of civil indigestion.

My rationale here is that having pretty borders annexing Central America is paramount and that it's better to take a 11 point infamy hit now than to take a potential 20 point infamy hit later on. For Honduras or Nicaragua I might well take the risk of generating a conquest CB, but getting cut down to size by America because of El Salvador? No thanks.

The public's confidence in Santa Anna's leadership grew steadily with each victory, as each piece of news from the Southern front appeared to confirm the wisdom of the Generalissimo's grand design, that Mexico could indeed do what so many greater military powers than Mexico throughout history could not, and fight a war on two fronts. The war in Centroamerica was going so well and so swiftly, that it appeared to be almost over before Texas had managed to conquer even a single Mexican province.



In actual fact, it pretty much was.


The USCA peaced out literally the day after we occupied Guatemala.

Mexico's war with the United Provinces of Central America lasted little more than half a year, and ended in a decisive victory for the invaders with little more than a province lost to the slowly advancing Texan rebels and as of yet not a whiff of rebellion from the people of either Chiapas or Yucatán. The war had also been a political triumph for Santa Anna personally: it won him territory, it won him glory, but most of all it won him time; time for him to build up his New Model Army; time for him to strengthen and secure his own political position. Had Santa Anna stopped there: had he taken a deep breath, calmly surveyed the situation at hand and continued along on the path he had thus trodden, his place in history would have been very different. Instead, he galloped along head-first, full-steam ahead, along a different road, one tainted and tarnished with hubris and vanity. The conquest of Chiapas and El Salvador marked the pinnacle of Santa Anna's career, but with Santa Anna as with everyone and everything else, the decline always begins after the apex.


Notes:

[1] In PDM, unlike vanilla, Santa Anna isn't actually present in-game as a kick-ass general. Instead we have to make the do with the significantly less kick-ass Martin de Cos, a poor man's Murat if there ever was one.

[2] We could hardly call two ships a fleet, especially when one of them is only a clipper, but that's still twice as many ships as the Bolivian “Navy” will ever have!