Empire of Mexico
Imperio Mexicano (Spanish)
Motto: Equidad en la Justicia
"Equity in Justice"
Anthem: "Himno Nacional Mexicano"
(English: "National Anthem of Mexico")
Territory of the Second Mexican Empire upon establishment
|Status||Protectorate of France|
|Government||Federal constitutional monarchy|
|Regency of the Mexican Empire|
|Juan Almonte, José Salas, Pelagio de Labastida|
|8 December 1861|
• Maximilian I accepts Mexican crown
|10 April 1864|
• Emperor Maximilian I executed
|19 June 1867|
|1868||1,972,550 km2 (761,610 sq mi)|
|ISO 3166 code||MX|
|Today part of|
The Mexican Empire (Spanish : Imperio Mexicano) or Second Mexican Empire (Spanish : Segundo Imperio Mexicano) was the name of Mexico under a limited hereditary monarchy declared by the Assembly of Notables in accordance with the interests of the French Empire, during the Second French intervention in Mexico. It was created with the support of Napoleon III of France, who wanted to establish a monarchist ally in the Americas. The Assemblies' referendum confirmed Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian, of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine, as Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico, on December 4, 1863, with Maximilian officially accepting the crown on April 10, 1864.
Promoted by the powerful and conservative elite of Mexico's "hacendados", with the support of the French, as well as from the Austrian and Belgian crowns, the intervention attempted to create a monarchical system in Mexico, as it had functioned during the 300 years of the viceroyalty of New Spain and for the short term of the imperial independent reign of Emperor Agustín I of Mexico. The Empire came to an end on June 19, 1867, with the execution of Emperor Maximilian I.
Mexican monarchism emerged in conjunction with the struggle for independence. After Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Spain, the initial independence movements throughout Latin America concerned themselves with supporting the deposed Ferdinand VII as the legitimate king as opposed to Joseph Bonaparte who had been established as king of Spain by Napoleon. During the Grito de Dolores, Miguel Hidalgo Costilla rallied his listeners to support Ferdinand VII against the New Spain ruling classes that were allegedly going to betray Mexico and Catholicism over to the French.
While his insurrection was unsuccessful the ultimate triumphant movement for Mexican independence was led by Agustin de Iturbide with his Plan of Iguala, which made specific admission for a European monarch to be placed on the Mexican throne. After the offer was refused Iturbide himself assumed the throne in a barracks revolt, which was nonetheless confirmed by congress.
Iturbide failed to solve the problems of Mexico, shut down congress and lost their support, discrediting monarchy even amongst conservatives, but the idea did not go away. In 1838, Jose Maria Gutierrez Estrada wrote a monarchist essay endorsing the idea of a legitimate European monarch being invited to govern Mexico. The pamphlet was addressed to the conservative president Bustamante, who rejected the idea.
Heavily influenced by his wife Empress Eugenie, who was in contact with monarchist Mexican exiles, Napoleon III became intent on reviving the Mexican monarchy. Prior to 1861 any interference in the affairs of Mexico by European powers would have been viewed in the U.S as a challenge to the Monroe Doctrine. In 1861 however, the U.S. was embroiled in its own conflict, the American Civil War, which made the U.S. government powerless to intervene. When on July, 1861 Mexican President Benito Juarez declared a two year moratorium on Mexican debt to France among other nations, Napoleon finally had a pretext. Encouraged by Empress Eugenie, who saw herself as the champion of the Catholic Church in Mexico, Napoleon III took advantage of the situation.
Napoleon III saw the opportunity to make France the great modernizing influence in the Western Hemisphere, as well as enabling the country to capture the South American markets. To give him further encouragement, there was his half brother, the duc de Morny, who was the largest holder of Mexican bonds.
French troops landed in December, 1861, and began military operations on April, 1862. They were eventually joined by Mexican conservatives generals that had never been entirely defeated in War of Reform.After Charles de Lorencez small expeditionary force was repulsed at the Battle of Puebla, reinforcements were sent and placed under the command of Élie Forey. The capital was taken by June, 1863 and the French now sought to reestablish the Mexican government. Forey appointed a committee of thirty five Mexicans, the Junta Superior who then elected three Mexican citizens to serve as the government’s executive: Juan Nepucemo Almonte, José Mariano Salas, and Pelagio Antonio de Labastida. In turn this triumvirate then selected two hundred fifteen Mexican citizens to form together with the Junta Superior, an Assembly of Notables.
The Assembly met on July, 1863 and resolved to invite Ferdinand Maximilian to be Emperor of Mexico. The executive triumvirate was formally changed into the Regency of the Mexican Empire. An official delegation left Mexico and arrived in Europe on October. Maximilian formally accepted the crown on April 10, 1864, and set sail for Mexico.
The rule of Emperor Maximilian was blemished by constant conflict. On his arrival in 1864 with his wife, Empress Carlota of Mexico, daughter of King Leopold I of the Belgians, he found himself in the middle of a political struggle between the Conservatives who backed him and the opposing Liberals, headed by Benito Juárez. The two factions had set up parallel governments: the Conservatives in Mexico City controlling central Mexico and the Liberals in Veracruz. The Conservatives received funding from Europe, especially from Isabella II of Spain and Napoleon III of France; the Liberals found backing from United States Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson, after the U.S. had finished its own Civil War in 1865.
The United States government viewed Emperor Maximilian as a French puppet, and did not regard his reign as the will of most Mexicans or see him as the legitimate leader of Mexico. They demanded the withdrawal of French forces, and France acceded.In 1867, the empire fell and Maximilian was executed at the orders of Benito Juárez, in the Cerro de las Campanas near Querétaro.
Maximilian proved to be too liberal for the conservatives, and too conservative for the liberals. He regarded Mexico as his destiny and made many contributions. Before his death, Maximilian adopted the grandsons of the first Mexican emperor, Agustín de Iturbide: Agustín de Iturbide y Green and Salvador de Iturbide y Marzán.
A provisional constitution was issued in 1865. The emperor was to govern through nine ministries: of the Imperial Household, of State, of Foreign Relations, of War, of Government or Interior, of the Treasury, of Justice, of Public Instruction and Worship, and of Development. A council of state was given the power to frame bills and give advice to the emperor, and a separate private cabinet, serving as the emperor's liaison, was divided into civil and military affairs. Empress Carlota was given the right to serve as regent if under certain circumstances Maximilian was to be unavailable.
During his short reign, Maximilian issued eight volumes of laws covering all aspects of government, including forest management, railroads, roads, canals, postal services, telegraphs, mining, and immigration.The emperor passed legislation guaranteeing equality before the law and freedom of speech, and laws meant to defend the rights of laborers, especially that of the Indians. Labor laws in Yucatan actually became harsher on workers after the fall of the Empire. A national system of free schools was also planned based on the German gymnasia and the emperor founded an academy of sciences and literature.
One of the main challenges encountered by the Emperor was the lack of sufficient infrastructure to link the different parts of the realm. The main goal was connecting the port of Veracruz and the capital in Mexico City. In 1857, Don Antonio Escandón secured the right to build a line from the port of Veracruz to Mexico City and on to the Pacific Ocean. Revolution and political instability stifled progress on the financing or construction of the line until 1864, when, under the regime of Emperor Maximilian, the Imperial Mexican Railway Company began construction of the line. Political upheaval continued to stifle progress, and the initial segment from Veracruz to Mexico City was inaugurated nine years later on January 1, 1873 by President Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada.
In 1857 the original proprietors of the government concession, the Masso Brothers, inaugurated on the 4th of July the train service from Tlatelolco, in México City, to the nearby town of Guadalupe Hidalgo.Eventually they ran out of funds and decided to sell it to Manuel Escandón and Antonio Escandón. The Escandón Brothers continued working and the project, and Antonio Escandón visited the United States and England in the last months of the year. In the first country, he hired Andrew Talcott, and in the latter, he sold company stock. Exploration of a route from Orizaba to Maltrata was performed by engineers Andrew H. Talcott and Pascual Almazán.
During the French intervention, part of the railways were destroyed. The only option available was the establishment of a pact between the French Army, and the two companies of the Escandón Brothers. The French Army was to provide a subsidy to the companies of 120 000 francs a month for the works, and the companies were to establish service from Veracruz to Soledad para by May, actually concluding on August 15, 1862, concluding 41 kilometres of tracks. Next they reached the Camarón station, with a length of 62 kilometres. By October 16, 1864 they reached Paso del Macho with a length of 76 kilometres.
On September 19, 1864, the Imperial Mexican Railway Company (Compañía Limitada del Ferrocarril Imperial Mexicano) was Incorporated in London to complete the earlier projects and continued construction on this line. Escandón ceded his privileges to the new company. Smith, Knight and Co. was later contracted in 1864 by the Imperial Mexican Railway to continue work on the line from Mexico City to Veracruz.William Elliot was employed as Chief Assistant for three years on the construction of about 70 miles of the heaviest portion of the Mexican Railway, after which he returned to England. He had several years of experience building railways in England, India, and Brazil. In this last country, he held the position of Engineer-in-Chief of the Province of São Paulo.
Maximiliano I hired engineer M Lyons for the construction of the line from La Soledad to Monte del Chiquihuite, later on joining the line from Veracruz to Paso del Macho. km. [ circular reference ]Works were begun in Maltrata, at the same time that the works from Veracruz and Mexico City kept moving forward. By the end of the Empire in June 1867, 76 kilometers from Veracruz to Paso del Macho were functional (part of the concession to Lyons) and the line from Mexico City reached Apizaco with 139
Before 1864, there was no banking in Mexico. Credits were obtained from religious orders and merchant guilds. During the French Intervention, the branch of a British bank was opened. The London Bank of Mexico and South America Ltd began operations with a capital of two and a half million pesos. It belonged to the Baring Brothers Group, and had its head office in the corner of the Capuchinas and Lerdo Streets in Downtown Mexico City.
At the beginning of the American Civil War, the city of Matamoros was simply a sleepy little border town across the Rio Grande from Brownsville.It had, for several years, been considered a port, but it had relatively few ships arriving. Previous to the war, accounts mention that not over six ships entered the port each year. Nevertheless, in about four years, Matamoros, due to its proximity to Texas, was to assume state as a port, and multiply its inhabitants in number. Following is a quote from a Union General in 1885 describing the importance of the port in Matamoros:
Matamoros is to the rebellion west of the Mississippi what New York is to the United States—its great commercial and financial center, feeding and clothing the rebellion, arming and equipping, furnishing it materials of war and a specie basis of circulation that has almost displaced Confederate paper...The entire Confederate Government is greatly sustained by resources from this port.
The cotton trade brought together in Bagdad, Tamaulipas and Matamoros over 20,000 speculators from the Union and the Confederacy, England, France, and Germany.Bagdad had grown from a small, seashore town to a "full-pledge town." The English-speaking population in the area by 1864 was so great that Matamoros even had a newspaper printed in English—it was called the Matamoros Morning Call. In addition, the port exported cotton to England and France, where millions of people needed it for their daily livelihood, and it was possible to receive fifty cents per pound in gold for cotton, when it cost about three cents in the Confederacy, "and much more money was received for it laid down in New York and European ports." Other sources mention that the port of Matamoros traded with London, Havana, Belize, and New Orleans. The Matamoros and New York City trade agreement, however, continued throughout the war and until 1864, and it was considered "heavy and profitable."
By 1865, Matamoros was described as a prosperous town of 30,000 people,and Lew Wallace informed General Ulysses S. Grant that neither Baltimore or New Orleans could compare itself to the growing commercial activity of Matamoros. Nevertheless, after the collapse of the Confederacy, "gloom, despondency, and despair" became evident in Matamoros—markets shut down, business almost ceased to exist, and ships were rarely seen. "For Sale" signs began to sprout up everywhere, and Matamoros returned to its role of a sleepy little border town across the Rio Grande.
The conclusion of the American Civil War brought a severe crisis to the now abandoned Port of Bagdad, a crisis that until this day the port has never recovered from.In addition, a tremendous hurricane in 1889 destroyed the desolated port. This same hurricane was one of the many hurricanes during the period of devastating hurricanes of 1870 to 1889, which reduced the population of Matamoros to nearly half its size, mounting with it another upsetting economic downturn.
Maximilian I wanted to reorganize the territory following scientific criteria, instead of following historical ties, traditional allegiances and the interests of local groups. The task of designing this new division was given to Manuel Orozco y Berra.
This task was realized according to the following criteria:
On March 13, 1865, the new Law on the territorial division of the Mexican Empire was published.The Empire was divided into 50 departments, though not every department was ever able to be administered due to the ongoing war.
|Number||Department||Total population||Capital||Prefect||Population||Surface (Sq Leagues)||Pop. Density|
|XXX||Aguascalientes||433,151||Aguascalientes||Francisco R. de Esparza||23,000||1,768||244.99|
|XLVI||Arizona||25,603||Altar||José Moreno Bustamante||1,000||4,852||5.28|
|V||Chiapas||157,317||San Cristóbal de las Casas||10,500||1,871||84.08|
|XXXVIII||Coahuila||63,178||Saltillo||Francisco de la Peña y Fuentes||9,000||3,996||15.81|
|XXV||Colima||136,733||Colima||Jose Maria Mendoza||31,000||1,131||120.90|
|XLII||Durango||103,608||Durango||Buenaventura G. Saravia||14,000||3,394||30.53|
|III||La Laguna||47,000||El Carmen||Manuel Maria Sandoval||5,000||1,685||27.89|
|XXXIX||Mapimí||6,777||San Fernando de Rosas||1,000||4,528||1.50|
|XXXVI||Matamoros||41,000||Matamoros||Pedro J. de la Garza||41,000||2,195||18.68|
|XXXVII||Nuevo León||152,645||Monterrey||Jose Maria Garcia||14,000||2,379||64.16|
|VII||Oaxaca||235,845||Oaxaca||Juan P Franco||25,000||1,839||128.25|
|XXXIII||El Potosí||308,116||San Luis Potosí||34,000||2,166||142.25|
|XII||Puebla||467,788||Puebla||Alonso Manuel Peon||75,000||1,141||409.98|
|IV||Tabasco||99,930||San Juan Bautista||6,000||1,905||52.46|
|XXXV||Tamaulipas||71,470||Ciudad Victoria||José de Emparan||6,000||1,969||36.30|
|VI||Tehuantepec||85,275||El Suchil||Luciano Prieto||-||1,999||42.66|
|XIV||Valle de México||481,796||México||Jose Maria Mendoza||200,000||410||1,175.11|
|I||Yucatán||263,547||Mérida||José García Jurado||24,000||4,902||53.76|
|XXXI||Zacatecas||192,823||Zacatecas||Jose María Avila||16,000||1,785||108.02|
The information from this table was the estimate for the year 1865.
Maximilian intended to aid the development of the country by opening up the nation to immigration, regardless of racial origin. An immigration agency was set up to promote immigration from the United States, the Confederate States, Germany, and Asia. Colonists were to be granted citizenship at once, and gained exemption from taxes for the first year, and an exemption from military services for five years.
Some of the most prominent colonization settlements were the Villa Carlota and the New Virginia Colony.
In spite of lasting in power only a few years, Maximilian managed to leave behind constructions that remain prominent even in present day Mexico City.
For his royal residence, Maximilian decided to renovate a former viceregal villa in Mexico City, which was also notable for being the site of a battle during the U.S. invasion of Mexico. The result would be Chapultepec Castle, the only castle in North America ever to be used by actual royalty. While formerly serving as the official home of Mexican presidents, today the site is museum.
In order to connect the palace to the government offices in Mexico city, Maximilian also built a prominent road which he called Paseo de la Emperatriz (The Empress' Promenade). After the fall of the Empire, the government renamed it Paseo de la Reforma (Promenade of the Reform) to commemorate President Juarez and the reforms that he helped to legislate. In the present, it continues to be one of the most prominent avenues of the capital and is lined with civic monuments.
Today, the Second Mexican Empire is advocated by small far-right groups like the Nationalist Front of Mexico, whose followers believe the Empire to have been a legitimate attempt to deliver Mexico from the hegemony of the United States. They are reported to gather every year at Querétaro, the place where Maximilian and his generals were executed.
Part of a series on the
|History of Mexico|
The 1970 film Two Mules for Sister Sara was set in Mexico during the years of the Second Mexican Empire. The two main characters, played by Clint Eastwood and Shirley MacLaine, aided a Mexican resistance force and ultimately led them to overpower a French garrison.
The 1969 film The Undefeated starring John Wayne and Rock Hudson portrays events during the French Intervention in Mexico and was also loosely based on the escape of Confederate General Sterling Price to Mexico after the American Civil War and his attempt to join with Maximilian's forces.
The 1965 film Major Dundee starring Charlton Heston and Richard Harris featured Union cavalry (supplemented by Galvanized Yankees) crossing into Mexico and fighting French forces towards the end of the American Civil War.
The 1954 film Vera Cruz was also set in Mexico and has an appearance of Maximilian having a target shooting competition with Gary Cooper and Burt Lancaster's character at Chapultepec Castle. Maximilian was played by George Macready, who at 54 was twenty years older than the Emperor was in 1866.
The 1939 film Juarez featured Paul Muni as Benito Juárez, Bette Davis as Empress Carlota, and Brian Aherne as Emperor Maximilian. It was based, in part, on Bertita Harding's novel The Phantom Crown (1937).
In the Southern Victory Series by Harry Turtledove, Maximilian's Empire survives the turmoil of the 1860s into the 20th century due to the Confederate States emerging victorious in its battle against the United States of America in the "War of Secession"; thus, the United States becomes too weak and unwilling to pressure Maximilian's puppet state to capitulate to rebels and dissolve. It fights alongside the Confederate States against the United States in 1881-1882, 1914-1917 and 1941-1944 and experiences a civil war during the interwar years between republicans and Habsburg royalists. In 1881, it sold its northern provinces of Sonora and Chihuahua to the Confederacy and in 1944, it lost its extraterritorial province of Baja California to the United States after the Second Great War.
The 1990 novel The Difference Engine , co-authored by William Gibson and Bruce Stirling, is set in an alternate 1855 where the timeline diverged in 1824 with Charles Babbage's completion of the difference engine. One consequence is the occupation of Mexico by the Second French Empire with Napoleon III as the de facto emperor instead of the installation of Emperor Maxillian.
In Mexican popular culture, there have been soap operas like "El Carruaje" (1967), plays, films, and historical novels such as Fernando del Paso's Noticias del Imperio (1987). Biographies, memoirs, and novels have been published since the 1860s, and among the most recent have been Prince Michael of Greece's The Empress of Farewells, available in various languages.
The United Mexican States is a federal republic composed of 31 states and the capital, Mexico City, an autonomous entity.
Maximilian I was the only monarch of the Second Mexican Empire. He was a younger brother of the Austrian emperor Franz Joseph I. After a distinguished career in the Austrian Navy as its commander, he accepted an offer by Napoleon III of France to rule Mexico, conditional on a national plebiscite in his favour. France, together with Spain and the United Kingdom, invaded the Mexican Republic in the winter of 1861, ostensibly to collect debts; the Spanish and British both withdrew the following year after negotiating agreements with Mexico's republican government, while France sought to conquer the country. Seeking to legitimize French rule, Napoleon III invited Maximilian to establish a new pro-French Mexican monarchy. With the support of the French army and a group of Conservative Party monarchists hostile to the Liberal Party administration of the new Mexican president, Benito Juárez, Maximilian was offered the position of Emperor of Mexico, which he accepted on 10 April 1864.
Charlotte of Belgium was a Belgian princess who became Empress of Mexico when her husband accepted the Imperial Throne of Mexico and reigned as Maximilian I of Mexico.
Matamoros, officially known as Heroica Matamoros, is a city in the northeastern Mexican state of Tamaulipas. It is located on the southern bank of the Rio Grande, directly across the border from Brownsville, Texas, in the United States. Matamoros is the second largest city in the state of Tamaulipas. As of 2016, Matamoros had a population of 520,367. In addition, the Matamoros–Brownsville Metropolitan Area has a population of 1,387,985, making it the 4th largest metropolitan area on the Mexico–US border. Matamoros is the 39th largest city in Mexico and anchors the second largest metropolitan area in Tamaulipas.
Agustín de Iturbide y Green was the grandson of Agustín de Iturbide, the first emperor of independent Mexico, and his consort Ana María Huarte.
The Emperor of Mexico was the head of state and ruler of Mexico on two non-consecutive occasions in the 19th century.
The Second French Intervention in Mexico was an invasion of Mexico, launched in late 1861, by the Second French Empire (1852–70). Initially supported by the United Kingdom and Spain, the French intervention in Mexico was a consequence of Mexican President Benito Juárez's imposition of a two-year moratorium of loan-interest payments from July 1861 to French, British, and Spanish creditors.
The military history of Mexico consists of several millennia of armed conflicts within what is now that nation's territory and includes activities of the Mexican military in peacekeeping and combat related affairs worldwide. Wars between prehispanic peoples marked the beginning of Mexico's military history, the most notable of these fought in the form of a flower war. After the Spanish conquest of Mexico in the 16th century, indigenous tribes were defeated by Spain, thus beginning a three century era of Spanish dominance. Mexico's struggle for independence began primarily in the 19th century, and was marked by internal conflict of early rulers after defeating the Spanish in 1821. The Mexican–American War in the mid 19th century ended in the defeat of Mexican forces, and the loss of two-fifths of the national territory. In the remainder of the 19th century, a series of conflicts began in Mexico, as the War of the Reform and the defeat of the French during their intervention in Mexico marked events in that era.
Salvador Agustín Francisco de Paula de Iturbide y Marzán was the grandson of Agustín de Iturbide, the first emperor of independent Mexico, and his consort Empress Ana María. He became the adopted son, along with his cousin Agustín de Iturbide y Green, of Mexico's only other royal heads of state—Emperor Maximilian I and Empress Carlota of Mexico.
The Imperial Crown of Mexico was the crown created for the Emperor of Mexico on two separate occasions.
SMS Novara was a sail frigate of the Austro-Hungarian Navy most noted for sailing the globe for the Novara Expedition of 1857–1859 and, later for carrying Archduke Maximilian and wife Carlota to Veracruz in May 1864 to become Emperor and Empress of Mexico.
The House of Iturbide is the former Imperial House of Mexico. It was founded by the Sovereign Mexican Constituent Congress on June 22 1822 when the newly-independent Mexican congress confirmed his title of Agustín I, Constitutional Emperor of Mexico. He was baptized with the names of Saints Cosmas and Damian at the cathedral there. The last name Iturbide was originally from the Basque Country, Spain.
Austria–Mexico relations refers to the diplomatic relations between the Republic of Austria and the United Mexican States. Both nations are members of the OECD and the United Nations.
The Battle of Tacámbaro was a battle of the French Intervention in Mexico which took place on 11 April 1865 in the state of Michoacán in western Mexico. The battle, named after the town in which it was fought, pitted 300 members of the Belgian Legion supporting the Mexican Empire against approximately 3,000 Mexican republicans.
The New Virginia Colony was a colonization plan in central Mexico, to resettle ex-Confederates after the American Civil War. The largest settlement was Carlota, approximately midway between Mexico City and Veracruz, although other settlements were planned near Tampico, Monterrey, Cuernavaca, and Chihuahua.
The Commemorative medal of the Mexico Expedition was a French commemorative campaign medal established by decree of French emperor Napoleon III on 29 August 1863 to recognize military service during the 1862-1863 French intervention in Mexico.
A referendum on Maximilian becoming Emperor was held in Mexico on 4 December 1863. The proposal was supposedly approved by 100% of voters, with not a single vote cast against. Maximilian subsequently took the throne on 11 April 1864, starting the era of the Second Mexican Empire. In 1867 Maximilian was dethroned and executed.
France–Mexico relations refers to the diplomatic relations between France and Mexico. Both nations are members of the G-20 major economies, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the United Nations.
The Regency of the Mexican Empire was a period of transition in the history of the Mexican monarchy in the absence of the Emperor of Mexico and presided by a president of the same during the First Mexican Empire (1821-1823) and the Second Mexican Empire (1863-1867). The regency is the government of a State during the minor age, absence or incapacity of its legitimate prince.
The First Mexican Empire, established in 1821, with Agustín de Iturbide proclaimed as Emperor in 1822, was abolished in 1823.