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Maximilian
Emperor of Mexico
Portrait of Maximilian I of Mexico, Chapultepec Castle
Coat of arms of Mexico (1864-1867).svg
Emperor of Mexico
Reign 10 April 1864 – 15 May 1867
(&0000000000000003.0000003 years, &0000000000000035.00000035 days)
Coronation - (never formally crowned)
Regent José Mariano Salas,
Juan Nepomuceno Almonte,
Pelagio Antonio de Labastida y Dávalos
Mexican head of state
Predecessor Félix María Zuloaga
Successor Benito Juárez
Spouse Charlotte of Belgium
Issue
    Prince Augustine (adoptive)
    Prince Salvador (adoptive)
Full name
    Ferdinand Maximilian Joseph
House House of Habsburg
Father Archduke Franz Karl of Austria
Mother Princess Sophie of Bavaria
Born 6 July 1832(1832-07-06)
Schönbrunn, Vienna, Austria
Died 19 June 1867 (aged 34)
Cerro de las Campanas, Querétaro, Mexico
Burial Imperial Crypt, Vienna, Austria

Maximilian I of Mexico (6 July 1832 – 19 June 1867; born Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian Joseph of Austria) was a member of the Imperial House of Habsburg-Lorraine. After a distinguished career in the Austrian Navy he was proclaimed Emperor of Mexico, during the Second Mexican Empire, with the backing of Napoleon III of France and a group of Mexican monarchists on 10 April 1864. Many foreign governments refused to recognize his government, including the United States. This helped to ensure the success of Republican forces led by Benito Juárez, and Maximilian was executed, after capture by Republicans, in 1867.

In Mexico, he and his consort are known as Maximiliano and Carlota.

Contents

Early life

Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian as a young officer.

The future emperor of Mexico was born at Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria, the second son of Archduke Franz Karl of Austria and his wife Sophie Friederike Dorothee Wilhelmine, Princess of Bavaria. His siblings were Archduke Franz Josef (later Emperor Franz Josef I of Austria), Archduke Karl Ludwig, Archduchess Maria Anna Caroline Pia and Archduke Ludwig Viktor. He was born with the full title His Imperial and Royal Highness Ferdinand Maximilian Joseph, Prince Imperial and Archduke of Austria, Prince Royal of Hungary and Bohemia.[1] He was widely known as Archduke Ferdinand Max.

There is well-documented suspicion that Ferdinand Max was not the product of a union between Princess Sophie and Franz Karl. Many Europeans, and Viennese in particular, suspected that he was actually fathered by Napoleon II (son of Napoleon I and Marie Louise of Austria as Napoleon François Joseph Charles Bonaparte, also known as the Duke of Reichstadt). Those who subscribe to this belief cite the unnaturally close relationship that existed between Sophie and Napoleon II (it was said that Sophie never recovered after his death and that she blamed it on Metternich for the rest of her life) and that, from birth, Maximilian's stature resembled Napoleon II's more than that of Franz Karl, his older brother, or any of his younger brothers.[2][3]

Career in Austria

Ferdinand Max was a particularly clever boy who displayed considerable culture in his taste for the arts, and he demonstrated an early interest in science, especially botany. When he entered military service, he was trained in the Austrian Navy. He threw himself into this career with so much zeal that he quickly rose to high command.

Commander-in-Chief of the Navy

At the age of twenty-two, Archduke Ferdinand Max took office as Commander-in-Chief of the Austrian Navy in 1854. Like Archduke Friedrich (1821–1847) before him, Ferdinand Max had a keen private interest in the fleet, and with him the Austrian naval force gained an influential supporter from the ranks of the Imperial Family. This was crucial as sea power was never a priority of the Austrian foreign policy and the navy itself was relatively little known or supported by the public. It was only able to draw significant public attention and funds when it was actively supported by an imperial prince. As Commander-in-Chief, Ferdinand Max carried out many reforms to modernise the naval forces, and was instrumental in creating the naval port at Trieste and Pula as well as the battle fleet with which admiral Wilhelm von Tegetthoff would later secure his victories. He also initiated a large-scale scientific expedition (1857-1859) during which the frigate SMS Novara became the first Austrian warship to circumnavigate the globe.

Viceroy of Lombardy-Venetia

In his political views, Archduke Ferdinand Max was very much influenced by the progressive ideas in vogue at the time. He had a reputation as a liberal, and this led, in February 1857, to his appointment as viceroy of the Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia.


On 27 July 1857, in Brussels (Belgium) Archduke Ferdinand Max married his second cousin, Princess Charlotte of Belgium (later known as Empress Carlota of Mexico), the daughter of Leopold I, King of the Belgians and Louise-Marie of France. She was first cousin to both Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Ferdinand Max and Charlotte had no children.

They lived as the Austrian regents in Milan until 1859, when Emperor Franz Josef dismissed Ferdinand Max from this post. The emperor was angered by the liberal policies pursued by his brother in Italy. Shortly after his dismissal, Austria lost control of most of its Italian possessions. Ferdinand Max then retired to Trieste, near which he built the castle, Miramare.

Emperor of Mexico

Offer of a Mexican crown

Maximilian receiving a Mexican delegation at Miramar Castle in Trieste, Italy.

In 1859, Ferdinand Maximilian was first approached by Mexican monarchists — members of the Mexican nobility, led by local nobleman José Pablo Martínez del Río — with a proposal to become the Emperor of Mexico. He did not accept at first, but sought to satisfy his restless desire for adventure with a botanical expedition to the tropical forests of Brazil. However, after the French intervention in Mexico, under pressure from Napoleon III and after General Élie-Frédéric Forey's capture of Mexico City and the plebiscite which confirmed his proclamation of the empire, he consented to accept the crown in 1863 (Ferdinand Maximilian was not told of the dubious nature of the plebiscite, which was held while French troops were occupying most of the territory). His decision involved the loss of all his nobility rights in Austria, though he was not informed of this until just before he left. Archduchess Charlotte was thereafter known as "Her Imperial Majesty Empress Carlota".

Reign as Maximilian I of Mexico

In April 1864, Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian conceded his duties as Commander-in-Chief of the Austrian Navy. He traveled from Trieste aboard the SMS Novara, escorted by the frigates SMS Bellona (Austrian) and Themis (French), and the Imperial yacht Phantasie led the warship procession from his palace at Miramare out to sea.[4]

The new emperor of Mexico landed at Veracruz on 21 May 1864 with the backing of Mexican conservatives and Napoleon III, but from the very outset he found himself involved in serious difficulties since the Mexican extremists refused to recognise his rule. There was continuous warfare between his French troops and the Republicans.

Portrait as Emperor of Mexico, Franz Xaver Winterhalter, 1864

The Imperial couple chose as their seat Mexico City. The Emperor and Empress set up their residence at Chapultepec Castle, located on the top of a hill formerly at the outskirts of Mexico City that had been a retreat of Aztec emperors. Maximilian ordered a wide avenue cut through the city from Chapultepec to the city center; originally named Paseo de la Emperatriz, it is today Mexico City's famous boulevard, Paseo de la Reforma. They made plans to be crowned at the Catedral Metropolitana but, due to the constant instability of the regime, the coronation was never carried out.

As Maximilian and Carlota had no children, they adopted Agustín de Iturbide y Green and his cousin Salvador de Iturbide y de Marzán, both grandsons of Agustín de Iturbide, who had briefly reigned as Emperor of Mexico in the 1820s. They gave young Agustín the title of "His Highness, the Prince of Iturbide" and intended to groom him as heir to the throne.

To the dismay of his conservative allies, Maximilian upheld several liberal policies proposed by the Juárez administration – such as land reforms, religious freedom, and extending the right to vote beyond the landholding class. At first, Maximilian offered Juárez an amnesty if he would swear allegiance to the crown, which Juárez refused. Later, Maximilian ordered all captured followers of Juárez to be shot, in response to the Republican practice of executing anyone who was a supporter of the Empire. In the end, it proved to be a tactical mistake that only exacerbated opposition to his regime.

Last moments of Emperor Maximilian I of México.

After the end of the American Civil War, the United States began supplying partisans of Juárez and his ally Porfirio Diaz by leaving arms depots for them at El Paso del Norte at the Mexican border. Meanwhile, Maximilian invited ex-Confederates to move to Mexico in a series of settlements called the "Carlota Colony" and the New Virginia Colony with a dozen others being considered, a plan conceived by the internationally renowned U.S. Navy oceanographer and inventor Matthew Fontaine Maury. Maximilian also invited settlers from "any country" including Austria and the other German states.[5]

Nevertheless, by 1866, the imminence of Maximilian's abdication seemed apparent to almost everyone outside Mexico. That year, Napoleon III withdrew his troops in the face of Mexican resistance and U.S. opposition under the Monroe Doctrine, as well as increasing his military contingent at home to face the ever growing Prussian military and Bismarck. Carlota travelled to Europe, seeking assistance for her husband's regime in Paris and Vienna and, finally, in Rome from Pope Pius IX. Her efforts failed, and she suffered a deep emotional collapse and never went back to Mexico. After her husband was executed by Republicans the following year, she spent the rest of her life in seclusion, first at Miramare Castle near Trieste, Italy, and then at Bouchout Castle in Meise, Belgium,[6] where she died on 19 January 1927.[7]

Downfall

The execution of Maximilian

Though urged to abandon Mexico by Napoleon III himself, whose troop withdrawal from Mexico was a great blow to the Mexican Imperial cause, Maximilian refused to desert his followers. When considering to abdicate, he left it up to his followers to decide. Faithful generals such as Miguel Miramon, Leonardo Márquez, and Tomás Mejía vowed to raise an army that would challenge the invading Republicans. Withdrawing, in February 1867, to Santiago de Querétaro, he sustained a siege for several weeks, but on May 11 resolved to attempt an escape through the enemy lines. This plan was sabotaged by Colonel Miguel López who was bribed by the Republicans to open a gate and lead a raiding party through with the agreement that Maximilian would be allowed to escape.

The city fell on 15 May 1867 and Maximilian was captured the next morning after the failure of a courageous attempt to break through Republican lines by a loyal hussar cavalry brigade led by Felix Salm-Salm. Following a court-martial, he was sentenced to death. Many of the crowned heads of Europe and other prominent figures (including the eminent liberals Victor Hugo and Giuseppe Garibaldi) sent telegrams and letters to Mexico pleading for the Emperor's life to be spared. Although he liked Maximilian on a personal level,[2] Juárez refused to commute the sentence, believing that it was necessary to send a message that Mexico would not tolerate any government imposed by foreign powers. The sentence was carried out in the Cerro de las Campanas on 19 June 1867 when Maximilian, along with Generals Miramón and Mejía, was executed by a firing squad. His last words were, "Mexicanos! I die in for a just cause... the independence and liberty of Mexico. May my blood be the last to flow for the good of this land. Viva Mexico!"

Burial

After his execution, Maximilian's body was embalmed and displayed in Mexico. Early the following year, the Austrian admiral Wilhelm von Tegetthoff was sent to Mexico aboard the SMS Novara to take the former emperor's body back to Austria. After arriving in Trieste, the coffin was taken to Vienna and buried in the Imperial Crypt.

Titles from birth

Titles Maximilian held from birth, in chronological order:

  • His Imperial and Royal Highness Prince Imperial & Archduke Maximilian of Austria, Prince of Hungary and Bohemia (6 July 1832 – 10 April 1864)
  • His Imperial Majesty The Emperor of Mexico (10 April 1864 – 19 June 1867)

Emperor Maximilian in popular culture

S.M.S. Novara commemorative coin featuring Maximilian I of Mexico.
  • Rodolfo Usigli, Mexican playwright, in 1943 writes the drama entitled Corona de Sombra, in which the historical events surrounding Maximilian and Charlotte's are portrayed through a magnificent play of space and time to point out the consequences of seeing historical events from a single-sided perspective.
  • Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian was the subject of a 20 euro commemorative coin S.M.S. Novara coin minted in June 16, 2004. On the reverse, there is a dual portrait of the Archduke and of Commodore Bernhard von Wüllerstorf-Urbair, who commanded the Novara on her voyage of circumnavigation of the globe. In front of them, on the table, there is a large ship’s globe and instruments of navigation, along with a microscope (this was a scientific expedition).
  • Franz Liszt wrote a Funeral March in Maximilian's honour in 1867, which was published as No. 6 of Années de Pèlerinage, Troisième Année in 1883.
  • In the 1939 film Juarez, Brian Aherne gave a very sympathetic portrayal of Maximilian. His portrayal in 1954's Vera Cruz, by George Macready, was less sympathetic.
  • Fernando del Paso's novel Noticias del Imperio concerns the life of Maximiliano I and Carlota during their reign in Mexico.
  • French composer Darius Milhaud wrote an opera entitled Maximilien, which was premiered at the Palais Garnier in 1932.
  • Portayed in the Michael Kunze/Sylvester Levay musical Elisabeth, which deals with the story of his sister-in-law.

Ancestry

Gallery

See also

Further reading

Maximilian's papers were published at Leipzig in 1867, in seven volumes, under the title Aus meinem Leben, Reiseskizzen, Aphorismen, Gedichte (In My Life: Travelogues, Aphorisms & Poems).

Other works:

  • The Cactus Throne by Richard O'Connor, ISBN 0-380-00641-3
  • The Crown of Mexico by Joan Haslip, ISBN 0-03-086572-7
  • Maximilian and Juarez by Jasper Ridley, ISBN 1-84212-150-2
  • La Corona de Sombra by Rodolfo Usigli ISBN 0390891509 ISBN 978-0390891501
  • The Empress of Farewells: The Story of Charlotte, Empress of Mexico by, Prince Michael of Greece 1998 [8]
  • From Mexico to Miramar or, Across the Lake of Oblivion by C.M. Mayo, Massachusetts Review, December 2006
  • The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire by C.M. Mayo, ISBN 978-1-932961-64-5

External links

References

  1. ^ Titles include "HIM" for "His Imperial Majesty"; "HI&RH" for "His Imperial and Royal Highness"; and "HE" for "His Eminence".
  2. ^ a b Maximilian and Carlota by Gene Smith, ISBN 0245524185, ISBN 978-0245524189
  3. ^ Maximilian and Juarez by Jasper Ridley, ISBN 0-89919-989-5
  4. ^ Haslip, Joan, Imperial Adventurer - Emperor Maximilian of Mexico, London, 1971, ISBN 0-297-00363-1
  5. ^ Rolle, Andrew F., The Lost Cause: The Confederate Exodus to Mexico, University of Oklahoma Press, 1992, ISBN 978-0-8061-1961-8.
  6. ^ "Charlotte of Mexico's Misfortune", New York Times, March 6, 1885.
  7. ^ "Belgium Mourns for Dead Empress; Tragedy of Life of Charlotte, Wife of Maximilian, Is Recalled", New York Times, January 19, 1927.
  8. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=RBhNVICM8ZEC&dq=empress+of+farewells&ei=yUQWSuruIoqUkQS01q31CQ
Maximilian I of Mexico
Cadet branch of the House of Habsburg
Born: 6 July 1832 Died: 19 June 1867
Regnal titles
Vacant
Title last held by
Agustín I
Emperor of Mexico
10 April 1864–15 May 1867
Monarchy abolished
Vacant
Title last held by
Franz Joseph I
Viceroy of Lombardy-Venetia
1857–1859
Succeeded by
Franz Joseph I
in Venetia
Succeeded by
Victor Emmanuel II
in Lombardy
Political offices
Preceded by
Juan Nepomuceno Almonte
José Mariano Salas
as Regents
Mexican head of state
as Emperor of Mexico

10 April 1864–15 May 1867
Succeeded by
Benito Juárez
as President of Mexico
Titles in pretence
Vacant
Title last held by
Prince Agustin Jerónimo
— TITULAR —
Emperor of Mexico
May 15–19 June 1867
Succeeded by
Prince Agustín
Pretenders to the Mexican
throne since 1823
First Empire

Emperor Agustín I (1823-1824)
Prince Imperial Agustín (1824-1864)

Second Empire

Emperor Maximilian I (1867)
Prince Agustín (1867-1925)
Princess Maria (1925-1949)
Prince Maximilian (1949-)

See also House of Habsburg-Itúrbide

Simple English

File:Maximilian by Winterhalter
Maximilian I of Mexico

Maximilian I of Mexico (1832 – 1867) was a member of the Imperial House of Habsburg-Lorraine. After a distinguished career in the Austrian Navy he was proclaimed Emperor of Mexico, during the Second Mexican Empire. Many Europeans, and Viennese in particular, suspected that he was actually fathered by Napoleon II of France, also known as the Duke of Reichstadt). Those who believe this talk about the unnaturally close relationship that existed between Sophie and Napoleon II. It was said that Sophie never recovered after his death and that she blamed it on Metternich for the rest of her life and that, from birth, Maximilian's stature resembled Napoleon II's more than that of Franz Karl, his older brother, or any of his younger brothers. He ruled as the Emperor of Mexico from 1864 to 1867. He was installed by occupying French forces under Napoleon III. When the French left in 1867, Maximilian refused to go with them, believing he had the support of the people. He was captured by Benito Juarez’s Republican forces and executed by firing squad on June 19, 1867.








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