Do you know what famous person made chewing gum popular in the United States?
One of the prime candidates is not somebody you would connect to chewing gum. You've probably heard of him, but only if you "Remember the Alamo!" He was the commander of the Mexican troops who attacked and killed the Texans defending the San Antonio mission during a 13-day battle in 1836: General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. Santa Anna won that battle, but his country lost the war and the territory of Texas. The general ruled Mexico for a while and then, in exile, ended up in--of all places--Staten Island, New York in 1845. He brought with him his habit of chewing chicle, the sap of a Mexican tree. An inventor he befriended, Thomas Adams, was inspired by Santa Anna's frequent chewing habit. Adams added flavor to it and it became modern commercial chewing gum, making one of America's most reviled villains also an unsung hero of its popular culture.