After several years of negotiation with the Mexican authorities, Stephen F. Austin, a native of Wythe County, Virginia, led three hundred American families to settle in the Mexican province of Texas in 1825. The government in Mexico City at that time was a Federal Republic, based on the Mexican Constitution of 1824. In 1835 a military dictator, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna suspended the Constitution and created a centralized state, of which the province of Texas was a part. The Texians (as they called themselves), rebelled, as did several other Northern provinces, demanding independence. In Texas, they seized the old mission station known as the Alamo in San Antonio, over the first two weeks of December. Texians organized militias for defense across the region, made up of native Mexicans and American immigrants. Representatives of the settlements met in San Felipe in November, and appointed Sam Houston, a veteran soldier and respected leader, in charge of the yet unraised regular army. They called for volunteers but gave Houston no money or supplies.