The catalytic partial oxidation of methane is achieved at low temperatures (<200 °C) using manganese oxides and manganese salts in mixtures of trifluoroacetic acid and trifluoroacetic anhydride. Dioxygen is used as the in situ terminal oxidant. For Mn oxides (e.g., MnO2, Mn2O3, and Mn3O4), we studied stoichiometric methane partial oxidation in HTFA (TFA = trifluoroacetate). Using a Mn trifluoroacetate salt, at 180 °C and under 25 psig of methane, product selectivity for the mono-oxidized product methyl trifluoroacetate (MeTFA) is observed to be >90% at ∼35% methane conversion at approximately 6 turnovers. Under our catalytic methane oxidation reaction conditions, MeTFA is stable against overoxidation, which explains the likely high selectivity at conversions >15%. Using combined experimental studies and DFT calculations, a mechanism involving soluble and molecular Mn species in the catalytic cycle is proposed. The proposed reaction pathway involves initial activation of MnII by dioxygen, cleavage of a methane C–H bond by a MnIII hydroxo intermediate, rebound of the methyl radical to generate MeTFA, and finally regeneration of the starting MnII complex. Also, this process is shown to be applicable to the oxidation of ethane, favoring the mono-oxidized product ethyl trifluoroacetate (EtTFA) and reaching ∼46% conversion.