The Mexican National Anthem: An Art-Loving Dictator, A Captive Lyricist, And Spanish Musician

By Karen Harris
Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna (1795-1876), Mexican general. Source: (Getty Images)

At Mexican political ceremonies and sporting events such as the World Cup, don't be surprised if you hear a jaunty little ditty called "Himno Nacional." However, the Mexican national anthem's upbeat tune belies its bizarre history. It begins with a military dictator with a love of the arts and ends with the unlikely collaboration of a Mexican poet—held captive by his fiancé—and a Spanish musician. Here is how "Himno Nacional" came to be.