The New Student's Reference Work/Maximilian

Maximilian, Emperor of Mexico. Ferdinand Maximilian Joseph, archduke of Austria, was born on July 6, 1832, at Vienna, and was the younger brother of Francis Joseph I. He became an admiral of the Austrian navy, and in 1857-59 he was popular as governor of the Lombardo-Venetian territory. In 1862 the French interfered in the affairs of Mexico, and next year called together an assembly of notables, which offered the crown to Maximilian. After carefully reviewing the offer he accepted it, and in June, 1864, he entered Mexico. For a time all went well, but he was unable to keep the Mexican parties under control. Juarez, the republican leader, again raised the standard of independence; and soon after (1866) Louis Napoleon was forced to think of withdrawing his troops. In vain the Empress Charlotte went to Europe to enlist aid for her husband; her reason gave way under the strain of excitement and grief brought on by disappointment. When the French withdrew, Maximilian felt bound in honor to stay and share the fate of his followers. At the head of 8,000 men he made a brave defense of Querétaro against a republican army under Escobedo. In May, 1867, he was betrayed and tried by court-martial, and on July 19 he was shot. His death was directly due to his own fatal edict of Oct. 3, 1865, that all Mexicans taken in arms against the empire should be shot without trial. See Kendall’s Mexico under Maximilian.