Santianna”, also known as “Santiana”, “Santy Anna”, “Santayana”, “Santiano”, “Santy
Anno” and other variations, is a sea shanty relating to the Mexican General Antonio
López de Santa Anna. Supposedly, the last whaler to return to New Bedford hauled in to
this tune. The shanty is popularly supposed to have been started by British seamen who
jumped ship to serve with Santa Anna in the Mexican-American War. Tension between
the USA and Britain was still high, and Santa Anna became a hero-figure to those
countries opposing the US. Some verses, for example those dealing with his death, were
O Santy Anna gained the day
Hoo-ray, Santy Anna!
He lost it once but gained it twice
All on the plains of Mexico!
O Santy Anna fought for fame
And that’s where Santy gained his name.
O Santy Anna fought for gold
And the deeds he done have oft been told.
And Santy Anna fought for his life
But he gained his way in a terrible strife.
O Santy Anna’s day is o’er
And Santy Anna will fight no more.
I thought I heard the old man say
He’d give us grog this very day.