Maximilian and Carlota Europe's Last Empire in Mexico

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 1/14/2014
  • Publisher: Trinity University Press
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In this new telling of Mexico’s Second Empire and Louis Napoléon’s installation of Maximilian von Habsburg and his wife, Carlota of Belgium, as the emperor and empress of Mexico, Maximilian and Carlota brings the dramatic, interesting, and tragic time of this six-year-siege to life.

From 1861 to 1866, the French incorporated the armies of Austria, Belgium—including forces from Crimea to Egypt—to fight and subdue the regime of Mexico’s Benito Juárez during the time of the U.S. Civil War. France viewed this as a chance to seize Mexican territory in a moment they were convinced the Confederacy would prevail and take over Mexico. With both sides distracted in the U.S., this was their opportunity to seize territory in North America. In 1867, with aid from the United States, this movement came to a disastrous end both for the royals and for France while ushering in a new era for Mexico.

In a bid to oust Juárez, Mexican conservatives appealed to European leaders to select a monarch to run their country. Maximilian and Carlota’s reign, from 1864 to 1867, was marked from the start by extravagance and ambition and ended with the execution of Maximilian by firing squad, with Carlota on the brink of madness. This epoch moment in the arc of French colonial rule, which spans North American and European history at a critical juncture on both continents, shows how Napoleon III’s failure to save Maximilian disgusted Europeans and sealed his own fate.

Maximilian and Carlota offers a vivid portrait of the unusual marriage of Maximilian and Carlota and of international high society and politics at this critical nineteenth-century juncture. This largely unknown era in the history of the Americas comes to life through this colorful telling of the couple’s tragic reign.

Author Biography

M. M. McAllen Amberson writes about the history of the Southwest and Mexico. Her other books include I Would Rather Sleep in Texas: A History of the Lower Rio Grande Valley and the People of the Santa Anita Land Grant, depicting the blending cultures against the backdrop of the Mexican-American War, the Civil War, and border upheavals; and A Brave Boy and a Good Soldier: John C. C. Hill and the Texas Expedition to Mier, which tells the 1842 biography of thirteen-year-old Texan John C. C. Hill, captured in battle and adopted by Antonio López de Santa Anna.

McAllen Amberson regularly provides information for television documentaries filmed by BBC, PBS, and local and public stations in Texas, and she has written numerous articles for magazines and journals. She lives in San Antonio, TX.

Table of Contents

Introduction. Mexicans, You Have Desired My Presence
1. The Right of Kings
2. Sooner or Later, War Will Have to Be Declared
3. The Red Avenger
4. The Siege of Puebla
5. Honor of the House of Habsburg
6. What Would You Think of Me
7. The Future Will Be Splendid
8. A Task Worthy of the Damned
9. Our Daily Bread
10. A Premonitory Symptom
11. Every Drop of My Blood Is Mexican
12. Like a Lost Soul
13. The French Repatriation
14. The Empire Is Nothing Without the Emperor
15. Beware of the French
16. Someone Is Intent on Poisoning Me
17. Getting Out of the Toils of the French
18. Liberator I Will Be
19. War Is War
20. The Enemy Is Here
21. I Have Cared for You All
22. ¡Viva Mexico! ¡Viva el Emperador!
Selected Bibliography

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