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The Mexican Empire was the name of modern Mexico on two non-consecutive occasions in the 19th century when it was ruled by an emperor. With the Declaration of Independence of the Mexican Empire from Spain in 1821, Mexico became an independent monarchy, but was soon replaced with the First Mexican Republic. In turn, it reverted back into a monarchy in the 1860's.

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First Mexican Empire

Territories of the First Mexican Empire (1821-1823)

The First Mexican Empire was short lived, lasting only eighteen months, from 28 September 1821 to 19 March 1823 and having only one emperor, Agustín de Iturbide. Its origins can be traced to Napoleon I of France's conquest of Spain in 1808 and his installation of Joseph Bonaparte as king of Spain. These events loosened Spain's hold on her American colonies, and the movement for Mexican independence grew stronger.

The Mexican War of Independence began in 1810 and continued until 1821, when rebel troops entered Mexico City after the Treaty of Córdoba was signed, whereby Spain's representative, Juan O'Donojú, recognized Mexico's independence. In that year, General Agustín de Iturbide, a Mexican-born criollo former royalist who had switched his allegiance to the insurgents in the final phases of the war, was elected head of a provisional junta government and of a regency that held the imperial power that the Spanish crown once had. On the night of 18 May 1822, a mass demonstration led by the Regiment of Celaya, which Iturbide had commanded during the war, marched through the streets and demanded that their commander-in-chief accept the throne. The next day the Sovereign Congress named him emperor, and on 21 May issued a decree officially confirming this appointment, which was officially a temporary measure until a European monarch could be found to rule Mexico.

Achievement of arms of the First Mexican Empire

Iturbide's official title was "By Divine Providence and the National Congress, First Constitutional Emperor of Mexico" (Spanish: Por la Divina Providencia y por el Congreso de la Nación, Primer Emperador Constitucional de México). His coronation took place on 21 July 1822, in Mexico City. The territorial area of the Mexican Empire of 1821 was about 5,000,000 square kilometers, including everything from the OregonCalifornia border at 42nd latitude north, to the boundary with Panama (at that time, part of Colombia). Most of the countries of Central America were part of Mexico—they became a separate federal republic after the empire collapsed.

As factions in the Congress began to sharply criticise both Iturbide and his policies, the emperor decided on 31 October to dissolve it. This enraged the commander of the garrison at Veracruz, Antonio López de Santa Anna, who with his troops rose up against Iturbide and declared a republic on the 1 December. Fearing for his life as the rebellion grew stronger, the emperor ordered the dissolved Congress to reassemble on the 4 March 1823. He presented his abdication to them in a night-time session on 19 March 1823. He fled to Italy shortly after. In April 1824 the Congress, having already declared his administration void, declared Iturbide a traitor. When he returned to Mexico in July 1824 he was arrested on arrival in Soto la Marina, Tamaulipas, and executed.

Second Mexican Empire

Territories of the Second Mexican Empire (1864-1867).

In 1860 Benito Juarez became president of the Mexican republic. Juarez suspended all repayments on foreign debts, with the exception of those owing to the United States. The suspension led to the principal creditors, Britain, France, and Spain sending a joint expeditionary force, which occupied the port of Vera Cruz in December 1861. Juarez repaid most of the outstanding interest and agreed to honour the debts. Britain and Spain withdrew, their claims having been honoured. But France, under Napoleon III had a more ambitious goal in mind than merely the recovery of her debts.

Achievement of Arms of the Second Mexican Empire.

Napoleon III, heavily influenced by his romantically minded wife the Empress Eugenie, was bent on reviving the Mexican monarchy. He wanted to place a monarch on the throne who would promote the interests of France. Prior to 1861 any interference in the affairs of Mexico by any of the European powers would have been viewed as a challenge to the Monroe Doctrine of the United States. However, by 1861, the United States of America was embroiled in it’s own bloody conflict, the Civil war. The war at home would make it impossible for Washington to intervene. Also, many Mexicans in favor of the recovery of the Mexican monarchy viewed it to be a fully Mexican decision, and thus in no violation of the doctrine. And so encouraged by the Empress Eugenie, who saw herself as the champion of the emasculated Catholic Church in Mexico, Napoleon III took advantage of the situation.

Many favored the nomination of Archduke Maximilian of Austria as monarch, and so, in May 1864, the new emperor of Mexico, Maximilian I of Mexico, and his consort Carlota of Mexico, landed at Veracruz with the backing of Mexican conservatives, including the Mexican nobility, and France. Belgium—ruled by King Leopold I, Empress Carlota's father—also sent troops to aid the cause in Mexico.

Pretender to the Imperial Throne of Mexico

Since the deposition of Maximilian I as Emperor of Mexico, there has been a pretender line of accession to the throne, through his adopted sons - the grandsons of Agustin I. The current Pretender to the throne of Mexico is Maximilian von Götzen-Iturbide, born in 1944. He is not a male-line descendant, but inherited his claim following the death of his grandmother Maria Josepha Sophia de Iturbide, who was the daughter of Salvador de Iturbide y de Marzán, Emperor Maximilian's adoptee. Maximilian von Götzen-Iturbide resides in Australia. Should this entire line fail, along with all other descendants of Agustín de Iturbide, the next likely successor might be the emperor's sister, Doña Josefa.

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Line of succession to the Imperial Throne of Mexico

Head of the Imperial house of Mexico: Don Maximilian von Götzen-Itúrbide (b. 1944)

1.- HIM Don MAXIMILIANO GUSTAV ALBRECHT RICHARD AGUSTIN de GÖTZEN - ITURBIDE. Head of the Imperial house of Mexico, Count of Gotzen and Imperial King.(1949-present)

  1. .- Don Ferdinand Leopold Maximilian Gustav Salvatore von Götzen-Itúrbide PRINCE de ITURBIDE with the qualification of Highness
  2. .-Doña Emanuela Charlotte Maria Helena von Götzen-Itúrbide (b. 1998) Princess de ITURBIDE with the qualification of Highness
  3. .-Doña Emanuela von Götzen-Itúrbide Princess de ITURBIDE with the qualification of Highness (b. 1945)
  4. .-Viscount Nicholas MacAulay (b. 1970)
  5. .-Baron Edward MacAulay (b. 1973)
  6. .-Baron Augustin MacAulay (b. 1977)
  7. .-Baron Patrick MacAulay (b. 1979)
  8. .-Baron Philip MacAulay (b. 1981)
  9. .-Viscountness Camilla MacAulay (b. 1972)
  10. .-Baroness Gizella MacAulay (b. 1985)

See also

External links


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