The song “The Yellow Rose of Texas” is about Emily D. West (also known as Emily Morgan). Emily was an indentured servant on the Morgan plantation. As a result of her mixed ancestry, she had a light skin color, which is why the song makes reference to her as yellow. In 1836, Emily was seized by Mexican forces during the looting of Galveston. According to the legend, General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, President of Mexico and commander of the Mexican army, took a liking to Emily, and she became one of his sexual partners. The legend credits her seduction of Santa Anna with lowering the guard of the Mexican army and facilitating the Texans’ victory in the 1839 Battle of San Jacinto, near present-day Houston. Santa Anna’s opponent was General Sam Houston, who literally won the battle in minutes, and with almost no casualties.
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