Second Mexican Empire

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 on July 10, 1863, during the Second French intervention in Mexico. It was created with the support of Napoleon III of France, who attempted to establish a monarchist ally in the Americas. A referendum confirmed Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian, of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine, as Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico.

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 Empire

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
Territory of the Second Mexican Empire upon establishment
StatusProtectorate of France
CapitalMexico City
Common languagesSpanish
Roman Catholicism
GovernmentFederal constitutional monarchy
• 1864–1867
Maximilian I
Regency of the Mexican Empire 
• 1863–1864
Juan Almonte, José Salas, Pelagio de Labastida, Carlota of Mexico
8 December 1861
• Empire reestabilished
10 July 1863
• Maximilian I accepts the crown
10 April 1864
• Emperor executed
19 June 1867
18681,972,550 km2 (761,610 sq mi)
• 1868
ISO 3166 codeMX
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Second Federal Republic of Mexico
United Mexican States
Today part of Mexico


Mexican Monarchism

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. [1]

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[2].

Role of France

Dell'Acqua Ernennung Maximilians zum Kaiser Mexikos
The Offering of the Mexican Crown by a Mexican delegation, Miramare Castle, 1863

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[3]. 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.[4]

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.

Maximilian's Reign

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.[5] 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.


Maximilian and Carlota

Maximilian of Mexico Winterhalter
Emperatriz Carlota I de Mexico
  1. Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian born on 6 July, the second son of Archduke Franz Karl and his wife Sophie in Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna.
  2. Begins career in the Imperial and Royal Navy with the rank of lieutenant.
  3. The construction of his castle of Miramar near the Adriatic port of Trieste began.
  4. Ferdinand Max appointed the governor-general of the northern Italian provinces of Lombardy-Venetia. On 27 July marries the Princess Charlotte of Belgium in Brussels.
  5. On 19 April relieved of his post as governor-general. War breaks out with France and Piedmont-Sardinia.
  6. Napoleon III suggests Maximilian as a candidate for the throne of Mexico.
  7. In October a Mexican delegation arrives at Miramar to offer Maximilian and Charlotte the crown. Maximilian makes his acceptance conditional on a national plebiscite in his favor.
  8. On 14 April Maximilian and Charlotte leave Miramar on board the Austrian ship SMS Novara to sail to Mexico.
  9. End of the American Civil War; pressure placed on France to respect the Monroe Doctrine.
  10. Maximilian adopts Don Agustin and Don Salvador.
  11. Maximilian issues his Black Decree, condemning to death without trial more than eleven thousand Juarez supporters, thus inflaming the Mexican Resistance.[6][7]
  12. Maximilian abolishes on November 30 the Royal and Pontifical University of Mexico[8][9]
  13. Napoleon III orders the withdrawal of French troops from Mexico. The Emperor Maximilian refuses to desert his Mexican supporters. Charlotte sails to Europe to plead for help, growing persecution mania robs her of her senses. Republican troops on the advance in Mexico. France and Mexico sign a series of treaties that allow France to seize the receipts of Mexican customs to pay for the French intervention.
  14. Maximilian and his Imperial troops are besieged in the city of Santiago de Querétaro. The city falls through betrayal after 72 days. On 19th of June, Emperor Maximilian and two loyalist generals are executed by a republican firing-squad on the Hill of the Bells.
  15. On 18 January the body of Maximilian laid to rest among his ancestors in the Imperial Crypt of the Capuchin Church in Vienna.


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.[10]

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.[11][12] 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.[13] A national system of free schools was also planned based on the German gymnasia and the emperor founded an academy of sciences and literature.[14] Laws were published both in Spanish and in Nahuatl, the Aztec language, and Maximilian appointed leading Nahuatl scholar Faustino Galicia as an advisor to his government.[15]



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.[16] Eventually they ran out of funds and decided to sell it to Manuel Escandón and Antonio Escandón.[17] 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.[18]

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.[19] 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.[20]

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.[21] 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 km.[22]


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.[23]

Foreign Trade

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.[24] 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.[25] 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.[26]

The cotton trade brought together in Bagdad, Tamaulipas and Matamoros over 20,000 speculators from the Union and the Confederacy, England, France, and Germany.[27] Bagdad had grown from a small, seashore town to a "full-pledge town."[28] 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.[29] In addition, the port exported cotton to England and France, where millions of people needed it for their daily livelihood,[30] 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."[31] Other sources mention that the port of Matamoros traded with London, Havana, Belize, and New Orleans.[32][33] The Matamoros and New York City trade agreement, however, continued throughout the war and until 1864, and it was considered "heavy and profitable."[34]

By 1865, Matamoros was described as a prosperous town of 30,000 people,[35] and Lew Wallace informed General Ulysses S. Grant that neither Baltimore or New Orleans could compare itself to the growing commercial activity of Matamoros.[25] 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.[36] "For Sale" signs began to sprout up everywhere, and Matamoros returned to its role of a sleepy little border town across the Rio Grande.[37]

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.[38] 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.[39][40]

Territorial division

Political divisions of Mexico 1865 (location map scheme)
Departments of the Second Mexican Empire.

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:

  • The territory should be divided in at least fifty departments,
  • Whenever possible, natural boundaries shall be preferred,
  • For the territorial extension of each department, the configuration of the terrain, climate and elements of production were taken into consideration so that in due time, they could have a roughly equal number of inhabitants.[41]

On March 13, 1865, the new Law on the territorial division of the Mexican Empire was published.[42] The Empire was divided into 50 departments, though not every department was ever able to be administered due to the ongoing war.

  • Acapulco
  • Aguascalientes
  • Álamos
  • Arizona
  • Autlán
  • Batopilas
  • California
  • Campeche
  • Chiapas
  • Chihuahua
  • Coahuila
  • Coalcomán
  • Colima
  • Durango
  • Ejutla
  • El Potosí
  • Fresnillo
  • Guanajuato
  • Guerrero
  • Huejuquilla
  • Iturbide
  • Jalisco
  • La Laguna
  • Mapimí
  • Matamoros
  • Matehuala
  • Mazatlán
  • Michoacán
  • Nayarit
  • Nazas
  • Nuevo León
  • Oaxaca
  • Puebla
  • Querétaro
  • Sinaloa
  • Sonora
  • Tabasco
  • Tamaulipas
  • Tancítaro
  • Tehuantepec
  • Teposcolula
  • Tlaxcala
  • Toluca
  • Tula
  • Tulancingo
  • Tuxpan
  • Valle de México
  • Veracruz
  • Yucatán
  • Zacatecas
Population by department
Number Department Total population Capital Prefect[43] Population Surface (Sq Leagues) Pop. Density
XXL Acapulco 97,949 Acapulco 3,000 1,965 49.85
XXX Aguascalientes 433,151 Aguascalientes Francisco R. de Esparza 23,000 1,768 244.99
XLIV Álamos 41,041 Álamos 6,000 2,657 15.45
XLVI Arizona 25,603 Altar 1,000 4,852 5.28
XXVII Autlán 82,624 Autlán 3,000 1,394 59.27
XLVIII Batopilas 71,481 Hidalgo 3,000 2,967 24.09
L California 12,420 La Paz 500 8,437 1.47
II Campeche 126,368 Campeche Manuel Ramos 15,500 2,975 42.48
V Chiapas 157,317 San Cristóbal de las Casas 10,500 1,871 84.08
XLIX Chihuahua 65,824 Chihuahua Luis Terrazas 12,000 5,341 12.32
XXXVIII Coahuila 63,178 Saltillo Francisco de la Peña y Fuentes 9,000 3,996 15.81
XXIV Coalcomán 96,450 Coalcomán Antonio Pallares 3,000 993 97.13
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
VIII Ejutla 93,675 Ejutla 7,128 1,157 80.96
XXXII Fresnillo 82,860 Fresnillo Mariano Rodriguez 12,000 2,299 36.04
XXIX Guanajuato 601,850 Guanajuato 63,000 1,452 414.50
XX Guerrero 124,836 Chilpancingo 3,000 1,668 74.84
XLVII Huejuquilla 16,092 Jiménez 3,000 4,479 3.59
XVIII Iturbide 157,619 Taxco Francisco Casanova 5,000 833 189.22
XXVI Jalisco 219,987 Guadalajara Mariano Morett 70,000 1,252 175.71
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
XXXIV Matehuala 82,427 Matehuala 3,500 2,097 39.31
XL Mazatlán 94,387 Mazatlán Gregorio Almeda 15,000 2,116 44.61
XXII Michoacán 417,378 Morelia Ramon Mendez 25,000 1,750 238.5
XXVIII Nayarit 78,605 Acaponeta Manuel Rivas 2,000 1,718 45.75
XLIII Nazas 46,495 Indeé 5,000 3,089 15.05
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
XIX Querétaro 273,515 Querétaro Manuel Gutierrez 48,000 946 289.13
XLI Sinaloa 82,185 Culiacán 9,000 2,576 31.90
XLV Sonora 80,129 Ures 7,000 4,198 19.09
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
XXIII Tancítaro 179,100 Tancítaro 2,000 1,194 150.00
VI Tehuantepec 85,275 El Suchil Luciano Prieto - 1,999 42.66
IX Teposcolula 160,720 Teposcolula 1,200 1,352 118.88
XIII Tlaxcala 339,571 Tlaxcala Bibiano Beltran 4,000 1,030 329.68
XVII Toluca 311,853 Toluca Gonzalez Fuentes 12,000 1,095 284.80
XVI Tula 178,174 Tula Eligio Ruelas 5,000 617 288.77
XV Tulancingo 266,678 Tulancingo Agustin Ricoy 6,000 1,030 258.91
XI Tuxpan 97,940 Tuxpan 6,000 1,325 73.92
XIV Valle de México 481,796 México Jose Maria Mendoza 200,000 410 1,175.11
X Veracruz 265,159 Veracruz Domingo Bureau 10,000 2,119 125.13
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
Mexican Empire 8,218,994 Mexico 200,000 114,036 72.07

The information from this table was the estimate for the year 1865.[44]


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.[45]

Some of the most prominent colonization settlements were the Villa Carlota and the New Virginia Colony.


Castillo de Chapultepec (Museo Nacional de Historia)
Chapultepec Castle

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.[46]

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[47].

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.[48]

In popular culture

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.

See also


  1. ^ Fehrenbach, T.R. (1995). Fire and Blood: A History of Mexico. Da Capo Press. p. 320.
  2. ^ Bancroft, Hubert Howe (1852). History of Mexico Vol 5. The Bancroft Company. p. 224-225.
  3. ^ Bancroft, Hubert Howe (1887). History of Mexico Volume VI 1861-1887. San Francisco: The History Company. p. 51.
  4. ^ Bancroft, Hubert Howe (1887). History of Mexico Volume VI 1861-1887. San Francisco: The History Company. p. 77-78.
  5. ^ President Johnson biography Archived 9 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine The Miller Center
  6. ^ Donald W. Miles (2006), Cinco de Mayo: What is Everybody Celebrating?: the Story Behind Mexico's Battle of Puebla, iUniverse, p. 196, ISBN 9780595392414
  7. ^ Jasper Ridley (1993), Maximilian and Juárez, Constable, p. 229, ISBN 9780094720701
  8. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia (1911), Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 10, Appleton, p. 260, ISBN 9780595392414
  9. ^ Charles A. Hale (2014), The Transformation of Liberalism in Late Nineteenth-Century Mexico, Princeton University Pres, p. 193, ISBN 9781400863228
  10. ^ Bancroft, Hubert Howe (1887). History of Mexico Volume VI 1861-1887. San Francisco: The History Company. p. 171.
  11. ^ La legislación del Segundo Imperio (PDF) (in Spanish). p. 9.
  12. ^ McAllen, M.M (8 January 2014). Maximilian and Carlota: Europe’s Last Empire in Mexico. Trinity University Press. p. 143.
  13. ^ Richmond, Douglas W. (15 April 2015). Conflict and Carnage in Yucatán: Liberals, the Second Empire, and Maya Revolutionaries, 1855–1876. University of Alabama Press. p. 70.
  14. ^ Bancroft, Hubert Howe (1887). History of Mexico Volume VI 1861-1887. San Francisco: The History Company. p. 173.
  15. ^ McAllen, M.M. Maximilian and Carlota: Europe’s Last Empire in Mexico. Trinity University Press. p. 142.
  16. ^ Ferrocarril de México a La Villa
  17. ^ La historia del tren en México
  18. ^ Chapman, John Gresham, La construcción del Ferrocarril Mexicano, 1985
  19. ^ The Railroads of Mexico
  20. ^ William Elliot (1827-1892) Grace's Guide to British Industrial History
  21. ^ Historia del Ferrocarril
  22. ^ es:Ferrosur
  23. ^ Banco de Londres, México y Sudamérica, el primer banco comercial de México Forbes
  24. ^ Delaney, Robert W. (1955). Matamoros, Port for Texas during the Civil War. Texas State Historical Association. p. 487. ISSN 0038-478X. JSTOR 30241907.
  25. ^ a b The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Washington: United States. War Dept. 1880–1901. JSTOR 30241907.
  26. ^ Underwood, Rodman L. (2008). Waters of Discord: The Union Blockade of Texas During the Civil War. McFarland. p. 200. ISBN 9780786437764.
  27. ^ "Matamoros". New Orleans Times. 1 June 1865. JSTOR 30241907.
  28. ^ "New York Herald". 9 January 1865. JSTOR 30241907.
  29. ^ "The Southwestern Historical Quarterly". New Orleans Daily True Delta. 16 December 1864.
  30. ^ Official Records of the War of the Rebellion. Washington: United States Department of War. 1894–1922. JSTOR 30241907.
  31. ^ Henry, Robert S. (22 August 1989). The State of the Confederacy. New York: Da Capo Paperback. p. 342. JSTOR 30241907.
  32. ^ "Matamoros and Belize: "From powder and caps to a needle"". New Orleans Times. 12 November 1864. JSTOR 30241907.
  33. ^ Hanna, Alfred J. (May 1947). The Immigration Movement of the Intervention and Empire as Seen Through the Mexican Press. Duke University: The Hispanic American Historical Review. p. 246. JSTOR 2508417.
  34. ^ "Matamoros and New York: Heavy and profitable". New Orleans Era. 1 November 1864. JSTOR 30241907.
  35. ^ "Matamoros port: 30,000 inhabitants". New Orleans Times. 3 March 1865. JSTOR 30241907.
  36. ^ "Port of Matamoros: "gloom, despondency, and despair"". New York Herald. 17 March 1865.
  37. ^ "Port of Matamoros". New Orleans Times. 1 June 1865. JSTOR 30241907.
  38. ^ The Journal of Southern History. Southern Historical Association. November 1984. ISSN 0022-4642. JSTOR 2208496.
  39. ^ Schober, Otto. "Cuando el río Bravo era navegable". Zócalo Saltillo.
  40. ^ Beezley, William H. (2011). A Companion to Mexican History and Culture. John Wiley & Sons. p. 688. ISBN 1-4443-4057-3.
  41. ^ Rubén García, "Biografía, bibliografía e iconografía de don Manuel Orozco y Berra", en Boletín de la Sociedad Mexicana de Geografía y Estadística, México, Compañía Editora e Impresora "La Afición", 1934, p. 233.
  42. ^ Diario del Imperio, Tomo I Número 59, 13 de marzo de 1865
  43. ^ Almanaque Imperial para el año de 1866 (PDF). J.M. Lara. 1866. p. 57-68.
  44. ^ La división territorial del Segundo Imperio Mexicano, 1865. Estudios de Historia Moderna y Contemporánea de México, UNAM
  45. ^ Bancroft, Hubert Howe (1887). History of Mexico Volume VI 1861-1887. San Francisco: The History Company. p. 174.
  46. ^ "Chapultepec Castle: The only castle in North America to ever house actual sovereigns".
  47. ^ "Paseo de la Reforma in Mexico City".
  48. ^ "Homage to the Martyrs of the Second Mexican Empire". Archived from the original on 3 May 2014.


  • Bancroft, Hubert Howe (1887). History of Mexico Volume VI 1861-1887. San Francisco: The History Company. p. 171-173.
  • Barker, Nancy N. : The Factor of 'Race' in the French Experience in Mexico, 1821-1861", in: HAHR, no. 59:1, pp. 64–80.
  • Blumbeg. Arnold: The Diplomacy of the Mexican Empire, 1863-1867. Florida: Krueger, 1987.
  • Corti, Egon Caesar: Maximilian and Charlotte of Mexico, translated from the German by Catherine Alison Phillips. 2 Volumes. New York: Knopf, 1928.
  • Cunningham, Michele. Mexico and the Foreign Policy of Napoleon III (2001) 251p. online PhD version
  • Pani, Erika: "Dreaming of a Mexican Empire: The Political Projects of the 'Imperialist'", in: HAHR, no. 65:1, pp. 19–49.
  • Hanna, Alfred Jackson, and Kathryn Abbey Hanna. Napoleon III and Mexico: American triumph over monarchy (1971).
  • Ibsen, Kristine (2010). Maximilian, Mexico, and the Invention of Empire. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press. ISBN 978-0-8265-1688-6.
  • McAllen, M. M. (2015). Maximilian and Carlota: Europe's Last Empire in Mexico. San Antonio: Trinity University Press. ISBN 978-1-59534-183-9. excerpt
  • Ridley, Jasper (2001). Maximilian & Juarez. London: Phoenix Press. ISBN 1-84212-150-2.

External links

Media related to Second Mexican Empire at Wikimedia Commons

1863 Mexican emperor referendum

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.

Battle of Chihuahua (1866)

The Battle of Chihuahua or Recapture of Chihuahua City took place on March 24, 1866, in Chihuahua City, in Chihuahua State, Mexico, between elements of the Mexican Army of the Republic, led by Colonel Luis Terrazas, and French and Mexican troops in the service of the Second Mexican Empire during the Second French intervention in Mexico. The attack on Chihuahua City, was launched by the Republicans at 9am against the imperial occupying forces, resulting in an imperial surrender of the city two hours later.

Battle of Miahuatlán

The Battle of Miahuatlán took place on 3 October 1866 in the vicinity of the current municipality of Miahuatlán de Porfirio Díaz in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico. It was fought between elements of the Mexican republican army under General Porfirio Díaz and troops of the Second Mexican Empire during the Second French intervention in Mexico.

The Imperial troops were defeated, opening the way for Díaz to advance on the city of Oaxaca.

Capture of Chihuahua (1865)

The Capture of Chihuahua took place on 15 August, 1865, during the Second French intervention in Mexico. General Augustin Brincourt Henri, with French troops under his command, took Chihuahua City in Chihuahua State, Mexico, from the Republicans on behalf of the Second Mexican Empire.

Capture of Monterrey (1864)

The Capture of Monterrey took place on 29 August 1864. It was fought between elements of the Mexican republican army and troops of the Second Mexican Empire during the Second French intervention in Mexico.

Chapultepec Castle

Chapultepec Castle (Spanish: Castillo de Chapultepec) is located on top of Chapultepec Hill. The name Chapultepec stems from the Nahuatl word chapoltepēc which means "at the grasshopper's hill". The castle has such unparalleled views and terraces that historian James F. Elton wrote that they can't "be surpassed in beauty in any part of the world".

It is located in the middle of Chapultepec Park in Mexico City at a height of 2,325 meters (7,628 ft) above sea level. The site of the hill was a sacred place for Aztecs, and the buildings atop it have served several purposes during its history, including that of Military Academy, Imperial residence, Presidential home, observatory, and presently, the National Museum of History.It is the only royal castle in the Americas. It was built at the time of the Viceroyalty as summer house for the viceroy. It was given various uses, from the gunpowder warehouse to the military academy in 1841. It became the official residence of Emperor Maximilian I and his consort Empress Carlota during the Second Mexican Empire (1864-1867). In 1882, President Manuel González declared it the official residence of the President. With few exceptions, all succeeding presidents lived there until 1939, when President Lázaro Cárdenas turned it into a museum.

Emperor of Mexico

The Emperor of Mexico (Spanish: Emperador de México) was the head of state and ruler of Mexico on two non-consecutive occasions in the 19th century.

With the Declaration of Independence of the Mexican Empire from Spain in 1821, Mexico became an independent monarchy—the First Mexican Empire (1822–1823). Mexico briefly reverted into a monarchy in the 1860s, during the Second Mexican Empire (1864–1867). In both instances of Empire, the reigning Emperor was forcibly deposed and then executed.

Federal Constitution of the United Mexican States of 1857

The Federal Constitution of the United Mexican States of 1857 (Spanish: Constitución Federal de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos de 1857) often called simply the Constitution of 1857 is the liberal constitution drafted by 1857 Constituent Congress of Mexico during the presidency of Ignacio Comonfort. It was ratified on February 5, 1857, establishing individual rights such as freedom of speech; freedom of conscience; freedom of the press; freedom of assembly; and the right to bear arms. It also reaffirmed the abolition of slavery, eliminated debtor prison, and eliminated all forms of cruel and unusual punishment, including the death penalty.

Some articles were contrary to the interests of the Catholic Church, such as education free of dogma, the removal of institutional fueros (privileges) and the sale of property belonging to the church. The Conservative Party strongly opposed the enactment of the new constitution and this polarized Mexican society. The Reform War began as a result, and the struggles between liberals and conservatives were intensified with the implementation of the Second Mexican Empire under the support of the church. Years later, with the restored republic, the Constitution was in force throughout the country until 1917.

French Mexicans

French Mexicans French: Franco-Mexicains, Spanish: franco-mexicanos or Spanish: galo-mexicanos) are Mexican citizens of full or partial French ancestry. French nationals make up the second largest European immigrant group in Mexico, after Spaniards.

Imperial Crown of Mexico

The Imperial Crown of Mexico was the crown created for the Emperor of Mexico on two separate occasions.

José Mariano Salas

José Mariano de Salas (11 May 1797 – 24 December 1867) was a Mexican general and politician who served twice as interim president of Mexico (1846 and 1859). He was also a member of the executive triumvirate of the Second Mexican Empire that invited Maximilian of Habsburg to take the throne.

Liberal Party (Mexico)

The Liberal Party (Spanish: Partido Liberal, PL), also called Party of Progress (Spanish: Partido del Progreso, PdP), was a Mexican political party founded in the mid 19th century and involving important figures such as José María Luis Mora, Benito Juárez and Porfirio Díaz.

When Mexico achieved its independence in 1821, the Mexican political life was altered by constant struggles between Liberals and Conservatives. The Liberal Party enacted the Federal Constitution of 1857, which along with the Plan of Ayutla (1854) and other liberal reforms polarized Mexican society to lead the Reform War (1857–1861), the Second French Intervention in México (1862–1867) and the Second Mexican Empire (1863–1867).

List of Vice Presidents of Mexico

The office of Vice President of Mexico was created by the Constitution of 1824, and was finally abolished by the current Constitution of 1917. Many Mexican Vice Presidents acted as President during time between the end of the First Mexican Empire and the establishment of the Second Mexican Empire.

Mexican nobility

The Mexican nobility includes elite indigenous families from the pre-columbian era; indigenous elites recognized as nobles in the colonial era (1521–1821); and hereditary nobles and economic elites who acquired noble titles in the colonial era; and the First Mexican Empire (1821–23), immediately after independence from Spain, and the Second Mexican Empire (1862–67). While some titles were granted in Mexico itself, other families brought with them their old titles from Europe.

The Political Constitution of Mexico has prohibited the state from granting any titles of nobility since 1917. The United Mexican States do not issue or recognize titles of nobility or hereditary prerogatives and honors.

Miahuatlán de Porfirio Díaz

Miahuatlán de Porfirio Díaz is a town and municipality in Oaxaca in south-eastern Mexico. The municipality covers an area of 326.6 km², and is at an average elevation of 1,600 meters.

It is part of the Miahuatlán District in the south of the Sierra Sur Region.

As of 2005, the municipality had 6,708 households with a total population of 32,185, of whom 2,517 spoke an indigenous language.

The name comes from the Nahuatl Miahuatlán: Miahua (ear of corn) and tlan (place or area).

During the Aztec period the town was known as Miahuapan Miahuatlán, "Canal of the Corn Tassel".The city has 16 kindergartens, 12 primary schools, a technical high school and a general secondary school and a regional university, Universidad de la Sierra Sur.

It has a radio station, a television station, telephone service, telegraph and a post office.

The Battle of Miahuatlán took place near the town on 3 October 1866, an important military action in which the Mexican republican troops defeated a larger force of troops of the Second Mexican Empire.

The battle is celebrated in an annual holiday on the date it took place.

Second Empire

Second Empire may refer to:

Second British Empire, used by some historians to describe the British Empire after 1783

Second Bulgarian Empire (1185–1396)

Second French Empire (1852–1870)

Second Empire architecture, an architectural style associated with the Second French Empire

Second German Empire, sometimes used to describe the German Empire between 1871 and 1918

Second Empire of Haiti (1849–1859)

Second Mexican Empire (1864–1867)

Second Persian Empire, sometimes used to describe the Parthian Empire (ca. 247 BC – 224 AD)

2nd Empire Awards, film awards held in 1997

Second Federal Republic of Mexico

For the current entity named United Mexican States, see Mexico.The Second Federal Republic of Mexico (Spanish: Segunda República Federal de México) is the name given to the second attempt to achieve a federalist government in Mexico. Officially called the United Mexican States (Spanish: Estados Unidos Mexicanos), a federal republic was implemented again on August 22, 1846 when interim president José Mariano Salas issued a decree restoring the 1824 constitution. Like the Mexican Empire, the First Federal Republic and the Centralist Republic it was a chaotic period, marked by political instability that resulted in several internal conflicts. Mexico's loss of the war with the United States saw half the territory Mexico claimed become part of the United States. Even though Antonio López de Santa Anna played a major role in much of this history, he returned to the presidency yet again, selling northern territory coveted by the United States contiguous to territory it just gained in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The sale of the Mesilla Valley was for many the final straw, and liberals promulgated of the Plan of Ayutla, calling for the overthrow of Santa Anna. Santa Anna went into exile and the liberals set about implementing their vision of Mexico.

Liberals enacted a series of separate reforms and then the Constitution of 1857, collectively known as the Liberal Reform, which sparked a civil war, known as the War of the Reform. The conservatives set up a parallel Mexican government and lost the War of the Reform. After losing the war, conservatives sought another political alternative, which involved the second French intervention in Mexico, which, with Mexican conservative support, established the Second Mexican Empire.

Mexican conservatives' political interests were in tandem with the expansionism of Napoleon III of France. Conservatives invited Maximilian Habsburg to serve as monarch of the Second Mexican Empire. Mexican republicans fought against the French invaders and were largely defeated on the battlefield, but Benito Juárez did not resign the presidency, and operated a government in exile, which the United States continued to recognize as the legitimate Mexican government. The republic was restored by Juárez in 1867 after the withdrawal of the French and the execution of Maximilian.

With conservatives discredited by their support of the ill-fated monarchy, Juárez was able to implement liberal policies. This period of federalism in Mexico is widely known as the Restored Republic, lasting from 1867 to the 1876 coup of liberal army general, Porfirio Díaz, ushering in a long period of authoritarian rule, peace, and economic development known as the Porfiriato. The liberal constitution remained nominally in force, with regular elections held that were increasingly seen as fraudulent. The Constitution of 1857 was supplanted by the Mexican Constitution of 1917, as an outcome of the Mexican Revolution (1910–1920).

Second French intervention in Mexico

The Second French Intervention in Mexico (Spanish: Segunda intervención francesa en México, 1861–67; known as Expédition du Mexique in France) 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 President Benito Juárez's two-year moratorium, on 17 July 1861, of loan-interest payments to French, British and Spanish creditors.To extend the influence of Imperial France, Napoleon III instigated the intervention in Mexico by claiming that the military adventure was a foreign policy commitment to free trade. The establishment of a friendly monarchy in Mexico would ensure European access to Latin American markets; and French access to Mexican silver. To realize his imperial ambitions without other European interference, Napoleon III entered into a coalition with the United Kingdom and Spain, while the U.S. was occupied with the American Civil War (1861–65), and unable to enforce the Monroe Doctrine.On 31 October 1861, France, the United Kingdom, and Spain agreed to the Convention of London, a joint effort to extract repayments from Mexico. On 8 December, the Spanish fleet disembarked troops at the port of Veracruz, on the Gulf of Mexico. When the British and the Spanish discovered that France had unilaterally planned to seize Mexico, they withdrew from the military coalition agreed in London. The subsequent French invasion created the Second Mexican Empire (1861–67), a client state of the French Empire. Besides the Continental empires involved, the Russian Empire also acknowledged the political legitimacy of the Maximilian's Second Mexican Empire, when the Tsarist fleet saluted the imperial Mexican flag when sailing off the Pacific Ocean coastal state of Guerrero.In Mexican politics, the French intervention allowed active political reaction against the liberal policies of racial and socio-economic reform of president Benito Juárez (1858–71), thus the Roman Catholic Church, upper-class conservatives, much of the Mexican nobility, and some Native American communities welcomed and collaborated with the French empire's installation of Maximilian I of Mexico as Emperor of the Mexicans.In European politics, the French intervention in Mexico reconciled the Second French Empire and the Austrian Empire, whom the French had defeated in the Franco–Austrian War of 1859. French imperial expansion into Mexico counterbalanced the geopolitical power of the Protestant Christian United States, by developing a powerful Catholic empire in Latin America, and the exploitation of the mineral wealth of the Mexican north-west. After much guerrilla warfare that continued after the Capture of Mexico City in 1863 — the French Empire withdrew from Mexico and abandoned the Austrian emperor of Mexico; subsequently, the Mexicans executed Emperor Maximilian I, on 19 June 1867, and restored the Mexican Republic.

Siege of Querétaro

The Siege of Querétaro was the culminating battle of the Second French intervention in Mexico and the Second Mexican Empire. It took place between Republican and Imperial armies from 6 March to 15 May 1867.

The Republican victory at Querétaro effectively ended the war of the Second French Intervention. Maximilian I of Mexico was captured and condemned to death by a court martial on June 14. On the morning of June 19 at the Cerro de las Campanas Maximilian, alongside his generals Miguel Miramón and Tomás Mejía, was executed by firing squad.


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