Emperor of Mexico executed

Emperor of Mexico executed

Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian, installed as emperor of Mexico by French Emperor Napoleon III in 1864, is executed on the orders of Benito Juarez, the president of the Mexican Republic.

In 1861, the liberal Mexican Benito Juarez became president of a country in financial ruin, and he was forced to default on his debts to European governments. In response, France, Britain, and Spain sent naval forces to Veracruz to demand reimbursement. Britain and Spain negotiated with Mexico and withdrew, but France, ruled by Napoleon III, decided to use the opportunity to carve a dependent empire out of Mexican territory. Late in 1861, a well-armed French fleet stormed Veracruz, landing a large French force and driving President Juarez and his government into retreat.

Certain that French victory would come swiftly in Mexico, 6,000 French troops under General Charles Latrille de Lorencez set out to attack Puebla de Los Angeles, a small town in east-central Mexico. From his new headquarters in the north, Juarez rounded up a rag-tag force of loyal men and sent them to Puebla. Led by Texas-born General Ignacio Zaragoza, the 2,000 Mexicans fortified the town and prepared for the French assault. On May 5, 1862, Lorencez drew his army, well-provisioned and supported by heavy artillery, before the city of Puebla and began his assault from the north. The battle lasted from daybreak to early evening, and when the French finally retreated they had lost nearly 500 soldiers to the fewer than 100 Mexicans killed.

Although not a major strategic victory in the overall war against the French, Zaragoza’s victory at Puebla represented a great moral victory for the Mexican government and symbolized the country’s ability to defend its sovereignty against threat by a powerful foreign nation. Today, Mexicans celebrate the anniversary of the Battle of Puebla as Cinco de Mayo. Six years later, under pressure from the newly reunited United States, France withdrew. Abandoned in Mexico, Emperor Maximilian was captured by Juarez’ forces and on June 19, 1867, executed.


The failed Emperor of Mexico

Ay dios mio! A Habsburg left Europe to become emperor in Mexico, but it didn’t end muy bien for him.

We are well, thank God, and are becoming more and more accustomed to the local situation and way of life. There is an enormous amount of work to be done, but one does it gladly because one sees that it is appreciated with gratitude. For the moment there can be no talk of constitutional experiments. The good people must first learn to obey before they can be allowed a say in politics. I am trying to proceed calmly and to avoid acting rashly.

Stone plaque on the monument to Archduke Maximilian on the main square in Hietzing

Édouard Manet: The execution of Emperor Maximilian of Mexico, oil on canvas, 1868/69

The monument to Archduke Maximilian in Hietzing near Vienna, xylograph, c. 1890

Monument to Archduke Maximilian on the main square in Hietzing, erected in 1871

Maxingstrasse in Vienna's 13th municipal district, street sign

A Habsburg empire in America? Yes, there was such a thing, albeit for only a few years. When in 1863 Emperor Napoleon III offered Franz Joseph’s younger brother Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian the chance to become Emperor of Mexico, the ambitious archduke found it an attractive prospect. However, what he was not in a position to know was that the throne was only being offered him on behalf of a small minority of clerical-conservative Mexicans supported by French troops of occupation. When Maximilian arrived in 1864, he was proclaimed Emperor of Mexico in the face of great popular resistance.

His vision of being welcomed to Mexico by jubilant crowds was to remain an unfulfilled dream – on the contrary, he found himself confronted with a lawfully instituted republican government embroiled in a civil war. This explains why two Mexican flags were used at that time: the republican flag, which is similar to the present-day version, and the imperial flag with a crowned eagle as a symbol of the empire. French withdrawal from Mexico spelled Maximilian’s end: in 1867, as the representatives of unsuccessful French power politics, he and two of his generals were condemned to death by a court martial and shot. However, there were rumours that the short-term Emperor of Mexico was not in fact executed but lived on in El Salvador under the name Justo Armas.

The brief interlude during which Maximilian was Emperor of Mexico was based on an entirely erroneous assessment of international interests and power constellations in America. In order to take part in the experiment, he not only had to renounce all claims to power in Austria but also became the victim of French interference in Mexico’s internal affairs. Maximilian is still commemorated in a statue erected in front of Hietzing parish church by the palace gardens at Schönbrunn shortly after his execution. He had built himself a villa nearby, in the street later named the Maxingstrasse in his memory.

It remains to be noted that Maximilian was not the only Habsburg to have ended up in American for ‘professional’ reasons: an archduchess named Leopoldine became Empress of Brazil.


Early Career

Maximilian of Hapsburg was born at the castle of Schoenbrun outside Vienna on July 6, 1832. He was the second son of Archduke Francis Charles, the brother of the Austrian emperor, Franz Joseph. Maximilian was reared in splendor and wealth, but he received a liberal cosmopolitan education. By an early age he traveled widely and spoke German, English, Hungarian, Slavic, and Spanish fluently. The young archduke capably served his uncle, the Emperor, as commander of the imperial fleet and as the imperial envoy in Paris. While in the latter post he visited Belgium, where he met and married the attractive Princess Carlotta, the daughter of King Leopold I, in 1857.

That same year the Austrian court sent Maximilian as viceroy to the Italian province of Lombardy-Venetia. In Italy he attempted to promulgate liberal reforms and soften the harsh policy followed by Austria after the Italian 1848 Revolution. Displeased by his liberality, the court assigned him back to the Adriatic fleet. In 1854 he retired to private life. He then visited Brazil and returned home to build the idyllic castle of Miramar on his Austrian estates.

Maximilian was described at the time as being 6 feet 2 inches in height, handsome, diplomatic, and gracious, or the ideal monarch for the age of enlightened despotism. Unaware of approaching storms, Maximilian and Carlotta lived happily in their beautiful home, seemingly content to escape the difficulties of public life. Their respite was to be short.


1927: What Happened to the Last Empress of Mexico?

The last empress of Mexico died on this day in 1927. Her name was Carlota, Charlotte in French version, or Carlota in Spanish form. She was born in 1840 at the Royal Palace of Laeken near the Belgian capital of Brussels. Her father was the first King of the Belgians, Leopold I from the Saxe-Coburg and Gotha dynasty. He was also the uncle of the famous British Queen Victoria. Charlotte, therefore, was a princess of Belgium, and her brother Leopold II inherited father’s throne as Leopold II of Belgium (he was known for later gaining the whole of Congo as a personal colonial possession).

How did a Belgian princess become an empress of Mexico? Namely, at the age of 17 she married Archduke Maximilian of Austria. He was a younger brother of the well-known Austro-Hungarian Emperor Francis Joseph I. In 1864, Maximilian was appointed Emperor of Mexico. This was done at the initiative of Napoleon III of France – who made a military intervention in Mexico in the attempt to create some sort of Catholic empire as a counterbalance to mainly Protestant USA to the north.

All in all, Charlotte became the Empress of Mexico. She took the Spanish form of her name – Carlota. Together with her husband Maximilian, she was crowned in a cathedral in Mexico City, which became the capital of the Mexican Empire. They moved into the Castillo de Chapultepec castle on the edge of Mexico City. Interestingly, that castle is the only imperial residence in the whole area of North America.

However, Napoleon III of France decided to quickly withdraw from the Mexican adventure, so Maximilian and his wife were left stranded. Mexican Republicans captured Maximilian and executed him by firing squad. Empress Carlota fled to Europe and lived as a widow, first at Miramar Castle near Trieste and then at the Castle of Bouchout in her native Belgium, where she died. She never returned to Mexico.


The French in Mexico: The Unhappy Tale of Archduke Maximilian

The United States was unable to enforce the Monroe Doctrine during the Civil War years and several European powers contemplated dabbling in Western hemispheric affairs. The most notable adventure was attributed to Napoleon III of France, who used the pretext of collecting overdue loans to Mexico to justify the invasion of that country. In truth, the French were really trying to recapture some of the grandeur of earlier Napoleonic times. They had support from conservative elements within Mexico, who had tired of the regular cycle of unrest and revolution. The French forces suffered some embarrassing early defeats, but were able to occupy Mexico City in June 1863. They established a puppet government under Austro-Hungarian Archduke Fernando Maximilian, who was named emperor of Mexico in 1864. Opposition from the previous government and liberal (or republican) forces plunged the country into general warfare. The insurgents in the north were led by Benito Juárez and those in the south by Porfirio Díaz. Both armies were repeatedly defeated by French forces, but managed to keep a presence in the field. The United States opposed the European presence, but was distracted by its own turmoil. When the Civil War ended in 1865, Secretary of State William H. Seward turned up the diplomatic heat. The French, tiring of the financial drain more than fearing American disapproval, began withdrawing its forces. The French presence remained but was concentrated in the major cities the warfare in the provinces was conducted by Mexicans hired for the imperial army. Those forces felt minimal loyalty to Maximilian and desertion rates were very high. Soldiers-of-fortune from all parts of the world were attracted to this conflict, including large numbers of American Civil War veterans. Early in 1867, the remaining French soldiers withdrew the empire collapsed almost immediately. Maximilian was captured, tried and executed in June on that year. His wife Carlotta was spared, but she drifted into insanity. Known as “Carlotta la Loca,” she lived out her final years in a French asylum. In Mexico the government was taken over by Juárez, who held office until his death in 1872. Later Díaz would rule as a dictator for more than 30 years. This incident impacted American history in an additional way. In the Hampton Roads Peace Conference of early 1865, the Confederate delegates used the French presence in Mexico as a major bargaining chip. They proposed that a joint military effort be mounted to drive the French from Mexico, but insisted that the Civil War be ended and the Confederacy be granted full recognition. Lincoln dismissed the matter in full.


Carlota in Europe

Carlota convinced her husband not to abdicate, and she returned to Europe to attempt to gain support for her husband and his precarious throne. Arriving in Paris, she was visited by Napoleon's wife Eugénie, who then arranged for her to meet with Napoleon III to get his support for the Mexican Empire. He refused. At their second meeting, she began crying and could not stop. At their third meeting, he told her that his decision to keep French troops out of Mexico was final.

She slipped into what was likely a serious depression, described at the time by her secretary as "a grave attack of mental aberration." She became afraid that her food would be poisoned. She was described as laughing and weeping inappropriately, and talking incoherently.She behaved strangely. When she went to visit the pope, she behaved so strangely that the pope allowed her to stay overnight at the Vatican, unheard of for a woman. Her brother finally came to take her to Triest, where she remained at Miramar.


Emperor of Mexico executed - HISTORY

Coins of the Second Empire of Mexico

Napoleon III and his plans for Empire

Meticulously researched and filled with colorful narrative

The civil war ended in Mexico in 1860 and the cash strapped new government of Benito Juarez suspended payments on foreign debts incurred by the deposed President Miramon . Britain, Spain and France sent warships to Vera Cruz to protect their investments . Mexican emigres in Paris persuaded Empress Eugenie ( 1826-1920 wife of Napoleon III ), that only a strong monarchy could restore order to Mexico and the empress pressed her husband to intervene . France was riding high in prestige, having recently presiding over the Peace of Paris in 1860 which ended the Crimean War and completed the Suez Canal in 1869 . The French colonial empire was expanding ( the "Second Colonial Empire" ) with the conquest of Algiers and subsequent additions of Algerian territory starting in 1830, Cochinchina (southern Vietnam) starting in 1864 and Cambodia was made a protectorate of France in 1867 .

Napoleon III had a more grandiose plan than debt collection when he sent troops to Mexico . Urged on by his own dream of emulating the great Napoleon and his Spanish wife Eugenie, he was determined to make France great again . He also wished to build a canal and railway across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec to make another great engineering feat like the Suez Canal . Napoleon III convinced the Austrian archduke Maximilian von Habsburg that the Mexican people would welcome him as a king . America was too involved with its own Civil War to enforce the Monroe Doctrine and Napoleon sent an expeditionary force of 27,000 to Mexico . As mentioned before, the Spanish and British withdrew their troops when they learned of the French intentions .

French army enters Vera Cruz Illustrated Times 1862

Charge of the Mexican Cavalry at the Battle of Puebla

Painting depicts the charge of the Mexican cavalry overwhelming

The French defeat at Puebla

The French marched on from the coast to Mexico City under the command of Charles Latrille. The French expected to be welcomed by the conservatives and the clergy . The Mexicans dug in at Puebla and heavily fortified it under General Ignacio Zaragoza, where around 4,500 Mexicans troops faced off against around 6,000 French. The French expected the Mexicans to retreat in the face of an aggressive assault and attacked recklessly. The French ran low on ammunition and many of their troops were weakened by sickness . On May 5, 1862, the Mexican forces managed to drive back the French to Veracruz and the date became the major Mexican Celebration of Cinco de Mayo . The Mexicans lost 83 men while the French lost 462.

Cinco De Mayo La Batalla Official Trailer

Ferdinand Maximilian and his wife Marie Charlotte

Juarez 1939 starring Bette Davis and Paul Muni, The film focuses on the conflict between Maximilian I, a European political dupe who is installed as the puppet ruler of Mexico by the French, and Benito Juárez, the country's president.

French troops at Cherbourg board for Mexico

Upon hearing of the disaster at Puebla, Napoleon ordered 30,000 reinforcements .It was a year before the French army was prepared to march again . The French bombarded Puebla, under the command of General Jesus Ortega after the death of General Ignacio Zaragoza of typhoid fever, for days and forced it to surrender after a siege of two months . The French army under Marshal Elie Forey took Mexico City on May 31 after the Juaristas evacuated north to San Luis Potosi.

French mortars at Puebla, Harper's Weekly 1863

The Battle of Camaron

One battle at this time, that of Camaron on April 30, 1863, in the state of Veracruz became one of the most famous in the annals of the French Foreign Legion . Here, 60 legionnaires under the command of Captain Jean Danjou, who had a wooden hand, met a force of roughly a thousand Mexican guerrillas where they fought until only five legionnaires and Captain Jean Danjou survived. They surrendered and freed in a prisoner exchange .

The history of the French Foreign Legion's wooden hand

Map of operations during the French

Intervention in Mexico . Click for larger image .

Maximilian becomes the Emperor of Mexico

On June 3, 1863 the French commander selected a provisional government of 35 conservatives .The executive triumvirate was made up of General Juan Almonte, General Mariano Salas and Bishop Pelagio Labastida . In October 1863 a delegation of Mexican conservatives visited Ferdinand Maximilian in Europe and made an offer for him to become the emperor of Mexico . Maximilian agreed if this was accepted by the Mexican people themselves . A plebiscite was held in Mexico under the control of the French Army, which of course approved him .Before Maximilian left Europe he met with Napoleon and it was agreed that Maximilian would pay the salaries of the French troops which would remain in Mexico until 1867. He was proclaimed Maximilian I, Emperor of Mexico on April 10, 1864.

The Administration of the Emperor

Ferdinand and his wife Marie arrived in Veracruz in May of 1864 where they were coldly welcomed by the local people . On June 12 they arrived in Mexico City after paying his respects to the Virgin of Guadalupe at the Basilica of Guadalupe . An imperial court was established at Chapultepec Castle . Once a week he opened the castle to the public to hear the concerns of the people and toured the provinces. He declared a free press and declared a general amnesty to win the support of the people .

To the dismay of his conservative allies, Maximilian upheld several liberal policies proposed by the Juarez administration such as land reforms, religious freedoms, and extending the right to vote beyond the landholding class. The emperor refused to suspend the Reform Laws that would return church lands and even levied forced loans against it . The emperor , a Mason, considered himself an enlightened despot and in addition to this hoped to gain Mexican liberal support .

The support of Napoleon began to wane as the Mexicans fought against French rule, but Maximilian and Carlota considered themselves on a holy mission . He drafted a new constitution which provided for a hereditary monarchy, religious toleration , equality under the law and did away with debt peonage . He sought to use the clergy as civil servants and pay salaries in order to do away with tithing and fees . He even named Jose Fernando, a moderate liberal, as secretary of foreign affairs . The liberals, for the most part were not impressed by these actions and Maximilian only succeeded in alienating them both liberals and conservatives. Maximilian consorted with prostitutes, and Carlota out of fear of catching a disease refused to sleep with him, creating a succession issue. This was solved by adopting the grandson of the first emperor of Mexico.

Dark Days for the Republicans

Juarez withdrew to San Luis Potosi and then to Chihuahua. French forces then forced his small army further north to modern day Ciudad Juarez across the border from El Paso .The empire was its strongest from 1864 to 1865. Marshal Bazaine defeated Porfirio Diazin Oaxaca after a six month siege. After its fall, the republicans only held four states, Guerro, Chihuahua, Sonora and Baja.

The Emperor issues the Black Decree

In October 1865, the emperor believed Juarez had fled to the US , which was not the case .The emperor then issued the infamous Black Decree decree mandating the death penalty for all captured armed Juaristas. There would be no courts-martial or pardons by the emperor .Within a few days two Juarista generals were captured and shot. This decree, however, was to lead to the emperors own death .The French, however, had trouble pacifying the country due to guerrilla warfare and the French were hated in much of the country for their drastic counter guerrilla actions.

American Support for Juarez and a Confederate Offer

Juarez realized he need more support and sought aid from the Lincoln administration, which had never recognized Maximilian's government . After the downfall of the Confederacy, Secretary of State Seward began applying pressure on Napoleon III and allowed Juaristas to purchase arms in the US . Three thousand Union veterans joined the Juarista army and the Mexican coast was blockaded. General Grant ordered 42,000 men under Sheridan to Brownsville, across the river from the imperial army under the command of Tomas Mejia and it looked as if the US would invade Mexico on behalf of the Juaristas, but nothing came of it .

After the fall of the Confederacy, General Joseph Shelby and his men rode south into Mexico to offer their services to Emperor Maximilian, who declined to accept the ex-Confederates into his armed forces. However, the emperor did grant them land for an American colony in Mexico.

Napoleon withdraws Troops, the Empress Pleads

With these considerations and the rising power of Prussia, Napoleon began to withdraw his troops in late 1866 and urged Maximilian to abdicate. This left Maximilian in a dangerous position and considered abdicating his throne, but his wife, saying he must maintain Hapsburg dignity, talked him out of it. She would travel to Europe herself to talk with Napoleon and to the Pope, but to no avail and later suffered an emotional collapse.During the remainder of her life (1867-1927) she believed herself still to be the empress of the Mexicans .

Execution of Maximilian and Generals Miguel Miramon

and Tomas Mejia, Harper's Weekly

Downfall of the Emperor

Juarez and his army assumed the offensive in the spring of 1866 .During the summer the republicans captured Saltillo, Monterey, Tampico, Durango and later in the year Guadalajara and Oaxaca. The end came in the city of Queretaro where the last of the French troops in Mexico were marching to Veracruz to leave Mexico under Marshal Bazaine, who urged the emperor to join him. The last French soldier left on March 16. Portirio Diaz, who escaped his captors after the fall of Oaxaca, took command of the army of the East and defeated a conservative army outside Mexico City and put the capital under siege .

The emperor is Betrayed

Maximilian took command of a few thousand Mexican imperial troops but was surrounded by a republican army four times as strong .The battle began on Feb 19, 1867 and the defenders held of the republicans for almost a hundred days .On May 11 he decided to attempt an escape through the enemy lines. However on May 15, 1867, before he could carry out this plan,a member of the imperial cavalry betrayed the emperor and opened a gate to the besiegers and Maximilian was captured , along with Miramon and Mejia .

Reasons for the Execution of the Emperor

Juarez decided that the emperor would be tried by court-martial, and the emperor's death decree of 1865 that had executed so many left little room for compassion . It was also felt that Maximilian might return and would make the new government look weak . He was also popular and even venerated by some of the Mexican population and it was feared they might rally around him in the future .He was executed by firing squad on June 19, 1867 on the Hill of Bells (Cerro de las Campanas) together with his Generals Miguel Miraman and Toms Mejia.Two days late Diaz captured Mexico City from the conservative armies .

Over 50,000 Mexicans had lost their lives fighting the French and the country was devestated after a decade of warfare. However, it was a vindication for the republicans and the Constitution of 1867, the power of the church and conservatives was broken and a sense of Mexican nationalism began to grow .It also introduced French ideas, fashion and culture into Mexico . Liberalism became associated with independence from foreign aggression . However, the lack of a central authority for so long increased regionalism and banditry which would lead to future domestic strife .

The Execution of Emperor Maximilian (Manet) Manet's depiction of this historical event borrows heavily from Goya in both theme and visual technique despite establishing a unique method of depiction. Learn more about art as a medium for political and psychological commentary.


ExecutedToday.com

On this date in 1867, a firing squad disabused a Habsburg heir of his pretensions to the throne of Mexico.

A little bit loopy, a little bit liberal, and fatally short of common sense, Ferdinand Maximilian Joseph* decamped from the easy life at his still-under-construction dream palace outside Trieste for an exalted title that really meant playing catspaw for Napoleon III‘s Mexican land grab.

(To assuage the pangs of imperial adventurism upon our tender-headed hero, Maximilian had been “invited” to assume the Mexican throne by a convention handpicked to do just that.)

There the puppet emperor with the silver spoon in his mouth found himself pitted in civil war against the Amerindian peasant from the school of hard knocks: Benito Juarez, one of Mexico’s great liberal statesmen.

As the tide turned in favor of Juarez and the liberals, and Napoleon’s attention increasingly fixated on problems closer to home, the French threw in the towel.

But Maximilian had too much honor or too little sense to heed his patron’s advice to get out while the getting was good sticking it out with “his people,” he was captured in May, 1867.

Juarez desiring to give any future bored European nobles second thoughts about New World filibustering, Maximilian got no quarter.**

While Louis Napoleon emceed a world’s fair on the other side of the planet, Maximilian was shot with two of his generals, Miguel Miramon and Tomas Mejia.

Maximilian’s widow Charlotte — “Carlota”, when trying to blend with her adoptive subjects — descended into a long-lived madness back in the Old World, but was rumored to have borne with one of Maximilian’s French officers an illegitimate child who would go on to become an infamous Vichy collaborator.


ExecutedToday.com

On this date in 1824, the Mexican officer who had made himself emperor was shot at the village of Padilla.

Iturbide‘s military acumen saw him through a meteoric rise in the service of what was then New Spain.

Iturbide rejected an early offer of generalship from the pro-independence leader Hidalgo in favor of spending the 1810s ably quashing the insurgency.

In a bizarre twist of fate, however, it would be Iturbide who would himself cement Mexican independence.

En route to try to finish off the last major rebel leader, Vicente Guerrero, Iturbide caught wind of the recent del Riego liberal revolt back in the mother country,* which had triggered civil war in Spain.

For the conservative royalist general, heir himself to a Basque noble lineage, the potential collapse of Bourbon authority in Spain raised the frightening specter of social upheaval.

All Iturbide’s work killing guerrillas for the sake of public order could come to naught if the Spanish monarchy collapsed or ceased projecting its power overseas … and then who knew what would emerge from the resulting power vacuum in Mexico?

So Iturbide cut a deal with Guerrero to consummate the Mexican War of Independence by separating from Madrid on an essentially conservative basis — a political breakaway without a social revolution. Independent Mexico would make nice with the Spaniards already living there, keep Catholicism as the official state religion, and get itself a constitutional monarchy of its own to insulate itself from the chance outcomes of continental politics across the ocean.

And when Iturbide marched into Mexico City and encountered a crowd conveniently imploring him to take the throne, well, who was he to deny them?

And so Iturbide transitioned smoothly from scourge of the revolution to its man on horseback,** immediately splintering the coalition that lifted him to power.


Contrary to this allegorical take on Iturbide’s coronation, he crowned himself — Bonaparte-like.

Only months after his July 1822 coronation, Iturbide shuttered Congress and began arresting the opposition. Meanwhile, Ferdinand VII had emerged from the Spanish fray as the (momentary) winner, leaving his upstart former subjects without international support.

A general that the freshly-minted emperor had himself had promoted, one Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna — yes, the Alamo guy — declared against Iturbide by the end of 1822, and come the following spring, Agustin I was a European exile, in the paradoxical position of drawing a pension from Mexico while also officially considered a traitor and outlaw.

In Tuscany and then England, Iturbide published an autobiographical justification — Statement of Some of the Principal Events in the Public Life of Agustín de Iturbide — then finally took up a much-asked-for invitation from Mexican conservatives to return and become the savior of his country against internal breakdown and a potential Spanish attack.

Founded on vainglory, this expedition was destined for fiasco within five days of touching Mexican soil, Iturbide was serenading a firing squad with the last words, “Mexicans! I die with honor, not as a traitor do not leave this stain on my children and my legacy. I am not a traitor, no.” Apparently they were serious about that injunction never to return.

When in Mexico City, relive happier times for our day’s subject at the Palace of Iturbide where he briefly maintained himself in the purple.

And do think twice about styling yourself Emperor of Mexico, since the only other person to claim that title also ended his reign in front of a firing squad.

* Ironically, it was a body of soldiers assembled for a reconquista of Spain’s independence–minded New World possessions that enabled del Riego to mutiny.

** Iturbide paused in the revolution’s good graces just long enough to design the Mexican flag.


1821-1935 (Mexican Empire)

The origin of the idea of Mexican independence came with Father Hidalgo on September 6, 1810 when he delivered the Cry of Dolores. The Spanish colonials executed Hidalgo however, the country rose in rebellion. The early rebels had problems and suffered many defeats. Finally, Agustin de Iturbide, a Creole officer joined the rebellion, and in 1821 Mexico gained its independence as an independent monarchy. Agustin de Iturbide, to whom the country owes its freedom, wanted a European monarch to rule Mexico. He turned to the defeated King of Spain, Ferdinand. However, Ferdinand refused and finally, Iturbide proclaimed himself Emperor Agustin I in 1822.

The Early Reign of Agustin I

Excerpt from: Founding the State 1822-1855, Mexico City, 1996

Emperor Agustin I, a firm conservator and believer of the divine right of kings, ruled as an absolute monarch for the first two years of his reign (1822-1823). After a failed military coup in March 1823, Agustin I's position was in danger. He turned to Valentin Gomez Farias, his advisor. He decided to re-establish the dissolved Congress and write a constitution. In 1824, he drafted the Constitution of 1824, which established a Congress and assured rights such as freedom of worship. The constitution, however, did not mention freedom of speech and press. The constitution tried to establish a democracy, but in practice, Iturbide retained final power.

Excerpt from: Early Riots in Mexico, Richmond, CSA, 1956

In 1825, after high inflation of the Peso and food shortages, the province of Texas and Chihuahua rose in revolt. Soon, other provinces joined the rebellion and held hostage government employees in the capital and in other cities. Emperor Agustin I's troops were called in to restore order. In June 1826, Imperial troops met with the rebels in Guadalajara. Rebel troops, led by Republican Guadalupe Victoria were defeated and forced to retreat back towards their positions in Monterrey and Chihuahua. Finally, in October 1826, Emperor Agustin I ended the rebellion by lowering food prices, demanding new farms to be built, and re-evaluating the Peso as the New Peso. The rebels were pardoned, except for leader Guadalupe Victoria who was executed.

Excerpt from: Relations between the USA and Mexico, Philadelphia USA, 1979

After independence in 1821, the USA was the first country to recognize Mexico. Emperor Agustin I entertained friendly relations with the White House until the US moved 200,000 settlers into Texas illegally in 1832. Mexico denounced the action and sent troops to Texas. The 200,000 settlers were forced out and relations with the US deteriorated. The US insisted that Texas be de-militarized and open to colonization. Agustin I refused and started to build up the army. At the same time, Emperor Agustin I received the support of military general Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, who was convinced of the empire's power during the rebellion. With Santa Anna in place as General and Minister of Defense and War, Agustin I could consider himself ready for war.

Excerpt from: Reforms of Agustin Iturbide, Mexico City, 2002

With a strong military, and the people under his iron fist, Agustin I insisted on reforms, to keep power. In 1828, he reformed the education system and opened male and female schools in every district. He incited people to go to school and educate themselves. In 1830, he created hospitals in major cities, and hired European and American doctors. In 1835, he reformed the social classes and allowed every Mexican to hold office. This move, popular among peasants, was unpopular among fellow Creoles, who controlled the government. In 1837, he created a central bank in Mexico, in 1838, he created a regular police and security service, and finally in 1840, he launched a plan leading to industrialization of the cities, and the construction of better roads, on the model of the US.

War with the United States

Excerpt from: La Guerre Mexicaine, Paris, FR, 1998

Meanwhile, tensions between the US and Mexico rose. American troops in present-day Colorado crossed into Mexican territory in 1844 and established their positions there. Mexico moved a contingent of 600 men to occupy Fort Jefferson. On May 19, 1844, both sides met near the fort, and the Americans forced the Mexicans in retreat. Agustin I declared war on the United States on July 23, 1844. Soon afterwards, two whole armies from northern Mexico and California were sent to the front. The war caught the US unready for full-scale war. In November 1844, Mexican forces advanced through Colorado, defeating US forces in Denver. Meanwhile, the newly created Mexican Navy gunboats headed for Florida's west coast were US troops were staging naval attacks on Mexico. The gunboats were able to land Mexican troops in St. Petersburg and Tampa. With only a few troops in the area, by January 1845, the whole of Florida was conquered. Soon, the Indian Territory and Colorado fell, and in March 1845, Mexican troops launched a final large-scale attack on New Orleans from Texas. The Mexican Northern Army was able to defeat the much larger US 5th Army in a matter of hours. The defeated Americans fled Louisiana and demanded a ceasefire. A ceasefire agreement was reached on July 28, 1845.

The Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo

Excerpt from: Building an Empire, Mexico City, 2005

The American and Mexican delegates met in Mexico City on June 17, 1846, almost one year after the ceasefire. The American delegates expected no major territory loss, but the Mexican delegation demanded 15,000 New Pesos and the territory of Florida, Louisiana, Nebraska, Colorado, and the Indian Territory. In return, they promised to let American settlers settle Mexican territory (esp. Texas). The Americans refused at first, but the Mexicans threatened to end the ceasefire. The Americans were forced, reluctantly, to agree to these terms. In 1848, an Imperial Decree ended the reparations.

Excerpt from: Expansion and Industrialization of Mexico, Philadelphia, USA, 1997

Before 1848, the territory of California and most of Mexico's northern territories were sparsely inhabited. This changed drastically, at least for California, in 1848. In 1848, near Sacramento, gold was discovered. The news of gold reached US and Mexican settlers a few days later, and soon, California, and San Francisco were booming. Thousands of new settlers arrived in California to make their share of money. Settlers set up their houses and families and made California their home. Soon, in 1852, the Mormon sect, a Puritan Christian group arrived in Utah Province and founded Salt Lake City. They called their new home Deseret. In 1855, they received the government's authorization to control Utah's provincial government.

The Emergence of Colombia and the Central American Conflict

Excerpt from: The Central American Spectrum 1850-1870, Mexico City, 1999

During the 1830's, newly freed Colombia united with Venezuela, Peru, and Ecuador in union. The country soon grew in importance, and in 1843, it took over Panama. Mexico was alarmed by the annexation of Panama, but failed to respond due to US threats in the north. In 1847, after the end of the American War, Colombia invaded Costa Rica, a state in the crumbling Central American Confederation. After the fall of Costa Rica and El Salvador, Mexico and Britain united to stop the Colombian threat to South America. In October 1850, Colombia invaded Guatemala. Mexico mobilized, and on November 17, 1850, Mexico declared war on Colombia to support Guatemala. Soon, Mexican troops met their equals, the strong Colombian army. Mexican troops were able to hold the upper hand at first, but the arrival of more Colombian troops meant the end of that. By January 1851, both sides were at a stalemate around Guatemala City. Trenches were dug by both sides, and neither could hold the upper hand. It was not until 1 year later, in January 1852, that the stalemate ended. By then, both sides had lost thousands of valuable men, and won almost no territory. In January 1852, the destruction of the Colombian fleet by the Mexican Navy. In February 1852, Colombia announced that it had signed a peace with the Central American Confederation. In March, both countries joined in an alliance, and Mexico was forced to attack Central American troops. However, Mexico captured Guatemala in June and El Salvador in November. By January 1853, the defeated Colombians agreed to a ceasefire.

The Treaty of Guatemala City

Excerpt from: Building an Empire, Mexico City, 2005

After the end of the conflict with Colombia, both sides agreed to talks. Talks were opened in Guatemala City in 1854. Mexico annexed the whole of the Confederation, while Colombia would retain Panama. Both sides agreed to joint war-guilt and thus, no reparations were enforced. At first, Mexico administered Central America as a colony, but in 1857, after a plebiscite, Central America was divided in provinces.

The Death of Emperor Agustin I

Excerpt from: The First Emperor's Last Days, Mexico City, 1969

Just after a victory parade in December 1854, Emperor Agustin I was taken to bed where doctors treated a "bad cold". The nation stood silent for one month while the doctors tried to treat the ailing, 72 year old emperor. On January 6th 1855, Agustin I died of what today is considered a cancer. His oldest son, Prince Imperial Agustin de Iturbide was crowned emperor of Mexico in Mexico City Cathedral on January 15, 1855.

Emperor Agustin II First Year's

Excerpt from: Agustin II and the Quiet Years, Mexico City, 1999

Agustin II inherited from his father a peaceful, calm country. In the north, California, and Utah were in full expansion, and in the south, farms were prospering in the newly-acquired territories of Central America. In Mexico, meanwhile, the un-regular Congress decided to meet every week and imposed on Emperor Agustin II a right to veto Imperial Laws and Decrees. Congress received that right, but Agustin II was smart enough to keep his right to override Congressional vetoes.

New Troubles with the United States

Excerpt from: Mexican-US Relations 1821-1950, Richmond, CSA, 1996

In 1857, the United States demanded from the Mexican governor of Louisiana Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada the opening of the port of New Orleans to only American ships. In return, the Americans offered 10 million$, de Tejada, under orders of the Congress, refused to let the Americans control the port of New Orleans and decided to keep the right to open and close the port at any time. In 1858, the Americans made the same demand once again, and this time, de Tejada, guaranteed to the Americans that he would keep the port open for an undetermined number of years. In the north, in the American Oregon Territory, American troops were being stationed on the Mexican border. When Prime Minister Miguel Miramon heard of the American troops, he decided to personally lead an army to California to occupy American positions. In 1860, he reached the front and demanded the Americans retreat. Four hours later, the Americans left the border.

Excerpt from: Mexico, the CSA, and the USA, New Orleans, 1999

In 1861, 10 southern states seceded from the USA. These slave states formed the Confederate States of America. Mexico, a abolitionist country, refused to recognize the CSA and supported the Union indirectly for the first year. In 1862, southern rebels crossed into Louisiana and met Mexican troops. Mexico declared war in support of the US, and closed Louisiana to all foreign imports to the CSA. Mexican troops under General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna inflicted several defeats on southern troops in Louisiana. By January 1863, Mexican marines and troops had gone upstream along the Mississippi to Kentucky, a rebel stronghold. Mexican troops landed in Kentucky and marched through the country, burning Confederate positions and storehouses. However, the US was defeated on all fronts, and on May 7th 1864, the US surrendered. Mexico agreed to a ceasefire with the CSA, but refused to participate in any treaty of peace. In 1865, when the CSA was recognized by the USA, Mexico agreed to retreat back to New Orleans. The port remained closed until 1902 to CSA goods.

The Death of Emperor Agustin II

Excerpt from: Agustin II and the Quiet Years, Mexico City, 1999

Following the US Civil War, Emperor Agustin II was starting to feel weaker than usual, and on May 6th 1866, he decided to lie in bed. The next morning, he was dead, victim of what is believed to be a severe heart attack. The Prince Imperial, Agustin de Iturbide, was crowned emperor two weeks later and assumed the Cobalt Throne of Mexico.

Troubles in the North

Excerpt from: The Foundation of Cascadia, Portland, Cascadia, 1998

After the Civil War, the US resumed control over Oregon and Washington Territory. However, by that time, several inhabitants of these regions formed the Cascadian National Congress in 1869 and demanded independence from the USA. This was refused, and the CNC took up armed rebellion against the United States. The CNC contacted Mexico and asked Mexican aid to gain Cascadian independence. In 1870, Mexico sent troops to protect Mexican territory, in practice, however, these troops smuggled arms to the CNC rebels. In July 1870, Mexico officially demanded Cascadian independence and threatened another invasion of the United States if it was refused. The US agreed and sold the land to Mexico for 15 million$. Two days later, Mexico granted Oregon and Washington independence. The US sold the land to Mexico to avoid losing its pride once again in another defeat. Two years later, in 1872, Cascadia assumed control over British Columbia.

Excerpt from: Agustin III's Reforms, London, UK, 1917

After Agustin III assumed the throne in Mexico, he set his mind on reforming both the corrupt Congress and his country. He dissolved the corrupt sessions of Congress, and demanded a new constitution. In 1868, the Emperor and his group of Imperial Advisors met and drafted a new constitution for Mexico. As part of the 1868 Constitution, drastic changes were enforced such as a set schedule for Congress, freedom of speech, press, peaceful assembly, and the right to form political parties. Another part called for elections every 5 years for Congress, and repealed the Emperor's right to override Congressional vetoes. In 1869, the final draft was signed and sent to the separate provincial governments. Almost all of the governments approved the Constitution by 1870. In 1871, the first political groups were formed, the National Action Party (PAN) and the Movement for Mexico (MPM). In 1875, the first elections were held for Congress and resulted in a PAN-dominated Congress.

Tensions with the CSA

Excerpt from: Mexico and CSA: A Story of Hatred, Mexico City, 2004

Meanwhile, the Confederacy positioned troops along the border with Louisiana. In 1872, Mexico sent three gunboats up the Mississippi and 500,000 armed troops to the CS border. On May 17, 1872, CS and Mexican soldiers met near the border. CS artillery opened fire on the Mexicans. However, Mexican commander General Porfirio Diaz made a smart move. He sent his infantry charging, only to retreat back and form a square. The Southerners charged with light cavalry and were massacred under the Mexican guns. After the battle, the Southerners retreated back across the border. The Mexicans, under Imperial order stopped following the CS troops.

Excerpt from: Mexico in the World, Mexico City, 1985

With the US defeated in the South and the North, and Colombia struggling to hold on to Panama and Peru, Mexico was the strongest power in the continent, challenged only by the weak CSA. However, in 1880, Mexican Prime Minister Porfirio Diaz met the CS Congress and they agreed to a status-quo and normalization of relations. This move was highly unpopular among veteran circles and led in 1882 to the resignation of Diaz.

Excerpt from: Industrialization of Mexico, Richmond, CSA, 1987

Although a world power, Mexico was still a very rural country, with very bad roads and railways. In 1883, the new Prime Minister Manuel Gonzales started the New Economic Plan, which led to the opening of over 200 factories nationwide. Many farmers were hostile to this plan, and it was only through bribery that the government moved them to factories. By 1899, 36% of the workforce worked in the industrial sector. In 1924, 67% worked in the industrial sector. In 1889, Prime Minister Manuel Gonzales, raised a fund to help the construction of roads, canals, and railways. The first priority was a system of roads. Construction went quickly, in 1891, the first smooth road between Mexico City and El Paso was opened. In 1892, the road linking Guatemala City with Los Angeles via Mexico City was opened. In 1895, the first railway part of the planned Trans-American Railway (San Jose, Costa Rica to San Francisco, California) between San Jose and Guatemala City opened. In 1898, the Guatemala City-Ciudad Juarez track was opened. The railway was finished in 1903.

Excerpt from: The Road to War: North America, Los Angeles, 2005

In order to maintain its position in the world, Mexico needed to keep a strong, modern army. In 1895, PM Gonzales signed a plan allowing for the introduction of modern rifles into army units. In 1898, hot-air observation balloons were introduced, and in 1901, a khaki camouflage dress was introduced, replacing the blue tunics. In the navy, a massive ship building project was begun to replace the gunboats, still the Navy's mainstay. Modern dreadnoughts replaced old gunboats in 1907 and in 1910, the navy counted 10 modern warships, 5 destroyers, and 2 cruisers.

The Prime Ministerial Bill of 1900

Excerpt from: The Encyclopedia of Mexico, Mexico City, 2006

Even after the Constitution of 1869, the Prime Minister, who joined a political group, was still chosen by the Emperor. However, at the request of Prime Minister Francisco Leon de la Barra, and Emperor Agustin III, the Prime Minister was to be the head of the majority party after each term-election. The Emperor signed the Prime Ministerial Bill on August 4th 1900. The November 1900 elections were the first held under this law and resulted in MPM leader de la Barra keeping power. In 1905, PAN leader Francisco Madero gained power.

A Trial for Democracy

Excerpt from: Struggles with Democracy in Mexico, Richmond, CSA, 1994

The greatest test to the real power of the Constitution came in 1904, when the governor of Morelos, Emiliano Zapata was arrested by the Mexican Army for denouncing the Emperor and insulting publicly the government. He was brought in trial in Mexico City in front of the Provincial Court. The Provincial Court demanded the trial be moved to the Imperial Supreme Court. The Chief Justice judged in favor of the government of Mexico. However, Emperor Agustin III used his power to reverse the court decisions and declared Zapata innocent under the constitution. He later assured his fellow citizens that the troops who arrested Zapata would "read the constitution over".

Excerpt from: The Encyclopedia of Mexico, Mexico City, 2006

After reforming many sectors, the Emperor and Prime Minister Madero launched a social aid and equality program in 1908. The program sought to reach out the poorer classes of the country. The government raised a fund-charity out of the tax money and distributed about 900,000 Mexican Pesos per year. However, in 1910, with the fall of Prime Minister Madero, the program was halted by the pro-upper-class Prime Minister Francisco S. Carvajal. Later, in 1915, Carvajal launched the popular program once again, but with no immediate success, since Mexico was at war, and jobs had been created in the defense sector.

Rise of Tensions in the Americas

Excerpt from: The Great War in the Americas. London, UK, 1998

Meanwhile in North America, two old rivals, the US and the CSA were taking the path to war once again. The US had built up its army in the years before the Great War, as did the CSA. In the north, the Republic of Cascadia still had a weak, third world army. However, the Empire of Mexico, south of Cascadia, had built up, along with Colombia, one of the world's strongest armies. Allied with Colombia's army, the two countries formed the strongest armed forces in the continent. In 1913, the US met CS troops near the US-CS border. The CS troops had been defeated by the Americans, and the CSA's government turned to Germany for military help. Alarmed by the new alliance, the US joined the Mexican-Colombian alliance and turned to France and the UK for military assistance. In 1914, the war broke out in Europe.

The Great War from 1914 to 1916

Excerpt from: The Great War in the Americas. London, UK, 1998

After the start of the war in Europe, the CSA joined the war on the German side soon, the US, Mexico, and the rest of the Allied Powers joined the war. Immediately, Mexican general Pancho Villa's "Pancho's Brigades of New Orleans", stationed in Louisiana, and sent his troops and gunboats up the Mississippi to CS Arkansas. Villa landed his brigades in southern Missouri, where the Army of Missouri was preparing military action, and Villa's Brigades A was sent to CS Mississippi. The A group marched quickly through the state, and finally met resistance from CS troops in Meridian. The Mexican troops pushed the southerners back towards Alabama, and crossed into Alabama. The Mexicans continued through northern Alabama towards Georgia. Meanwhile, Georgian irregulars met the Mexican troops in northern Georgia. In a 2-day battle, the Mexicans finally defeated the Georgians in Marietta (Cobb County, near Atlanta). The Mexicans continued towards the Atlantic coast, meeting only minor resistance. This was because the CS was preoccupied fighting the US in the north. However, the Mexicans soon met another Georgian militia unit, this time in the small town of Waynesboro. The Mexicans used General Diaz's classic "1872 Retreat Strategy" to easily win the battle. The reduced A group now marched to Savannah, Georgia, near the Atlantic coastline. Meanwhile, the defeated militia from Waynesboro marched south under government orders to conquer northern and western Florida. The Mexicans reported the troop movement and met the Georgians in the small town of White Springs, Florida in January 1916. The Georgians fled upon seeing the Mexican army, not the Florida militia. The whole remaining militia of Georgia was captured. Meanwhile, Pancho Villa's B group, stationed in St. Louis since late 1914, were called up by the High War Command and ordered to move west, to meet a joint American-Mexican invasion of Missouri. The group left in February 1916, and met a minor CSA brigade in Moberly. The B group continued towards Chillicothe, where the CS troops had rallied after the Moberly defeat. The Mexican and American armies met on March 7th 1916, and the battle began on March 8th. The Americans lost most of their men to the CS big guns, but the Mexicans used the clever 1872 Retreat Strategy again and defeated charge after charge of Confederate troops. On March 10th, the southerners surrendered. Although the Allied had won in Missouri, the Americans were losing tons of men in West Virginia under the CS guns. An important army general of the US, General Pershing staged a coup on July 4th 1916 and overthrew the pro-war government. Pershing declared himself President and declared a ceasefire with the CSA, valid until the end of the war.

The Great War from 1916 to 1918

Excerpt from: The Great War in the Americas. London, UK, 1998

The sudden change of sides of the US caught the Mexicans by surprise. However, the Southerners were deadlocked in the north, and too preoccupied to counterattack in the "Deep South". The American ceasefire did not end the war, as the people had hoped, and by July 10th, the US was back in the war, this time allied with the CSA against Mexico and Britain. The Mexican troops in Georgia and Missouri were sent through Tennessee and Kentucky to launch an attack on Indiana and Ohio. Meanwhile, Villa's Brigades attacked Illinois. On the Home Front in the US, New England rose in revolt in mid-July 1916 and declared its independence on the 18th of August 1916. It later joined the allied powers. In Iowa, the state seceded and formed a Republic in August 1916. Mexican troops progressed like lightning through Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. In the north, the British and Canadians staged Operation BEAVER, the invasion of the US in Detroit, Niagara, and New York State. The British met a few pockets of military resistance, but were able to capture most of Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New York by January 1917. The Mexicans advanced through southern Pennsylvania and met the British troops in northern Pennsylvania. The Allied troops marched south along the Delaware River to Philadelphia, the US capital. Philadelphia fell in early December 1917 and General Pershing's government the next day. During this time, Mexican troops in South Carolina and Mexican ships in Florida marched and sailed up north along the Atlantic Coast. North Carolina fell by March 1917. The attack halted until the army received orders to capture Richmond. Finally, in September 1918, the huge, reformed Mexican army marched north, aided by air squadrons and a large British-Mexican fleet. The ships captured the CS Naval Base in Norfolk, Virginia and British and Mexican marines joined the regular troops 25km from Richmond. CS troops rushed to Richmond, but it was too late. The Mexican snake and eagle floated over the Confederate White House on October 16th 1918. The troops continued north to the old US capital in Washington DC, now home of the government of the CSA after Richmond's fall. The Mexican troops rushed through Washington DC, and captured the Washington DC White House. The CSA surrendered on November 1st 1918.

The Treaty of Versailles and the Americas

Excerpt from: The Great War in the Americas. London, UK, 1998

Meanwhile, the war in Europe ended a few days after the war in America. The following year, 1919, Allied leaders met to sign the treaty of Versailles. Mexico's Prime Minister Venustiano Carranza traveled to France for the historic treaty. As part of the treaty, Britain, Colombia, and Mexico were awarded occupation zones in the defeated CSA and USA. In the US, Pershing's military government was overthrown and replaced by ex-President Taft for a few months. Taft's government was forced to live under Mexican occupation, as well as Woodrow Wilson's new Confederate government. Mexican troops remaining in states such as Georgia, Alabama or Missouri remained there. This move of keeping soldiers after the war on captured territory was very unpopular and in 1920, Carranza was taken out of office and replaced by Adolfo de la Huerta, who ended Mexican military occupation. However, reparation payments were enforced.

Excerpt from: The Great War in the Americas. London, UK, 1998

For most of the 1920s, Mexico enjoyed prosperity and democracy. The victory in the war raised confidence in the Emperor, the army, and the government. In the 1919-victory parade, the crowds numbering over 20,000 cheered the emperor and General Pancho Villa, who were responsible for a large part of the victory in the war. Pancho Villa became a national hero and was later assigned an important post in the government. The war had created jobs, including a few in the new aircraft industry. The newly-employed workers kept on their jobs and went on to build almost all of Mexico’s military supplies. The war also helped transportation. Some of the new riverboats built for action in the Mississippi with Pancho Villa’s brigades were transformed into regular river services boats inside the Empire. Roads built for goods and troop transport in Texas, Louisiana, and Florida were enlarged and became part of the nation’s first highway system. Mexico after the war was enjoying life.

Excerpt from: The Encyclopedia of Mexico, Mexico City, 2006

In July 1925, the Emperor, Agustin III was taken to bed, sick. The nation’s best doctors tried to save the sick emperor, but it was too late. On July 23rd 1925, Agustin III “the Great” died in Mexico City. The nation went into a month long period of mourning. The flag was lowered to half-mast, and a great burial was held in the capital. Other nations also observed the death of Mexico’s greatest emperor. The American and Colombian governments declared a 1-day period of mourning, and both of the above countries flags were flown at half-mast. His oldest daughter, Maria Josepha Sophia was crowned Empress.

Excerpt from: The Encyclopedia of Mexico, Mexico City, 2006

Taking advantage of the weakness of the new imperial power, General Alvaro Obregon overthrew the Congress of PM Adolfo de la Huerta and declared himself Prime Minister in 1926. He forced Empress Maria Josepha I to sign a new constitution, making him PM for life. During his 2-year rule, he became a dictator, outlawing the freedoms in the constitution, and forced the Empress to remain a figurehead. He considered an invasion of Panama and Colombia, but died before he could carry it out. After his death in 1928, Empress Maria Josepha forced his successors to resign and she restored the freedoms of the constitution.

Excerpt from: The Encyclopedia of Mexico, Mexico City, 2006

In 1929, the stock market in Mexico City crashed, and many stockowners lost everything they had gained overnight. The country, like the rest of the world entered a huge economic depression. Many jobs were lost and people were forced to sell their cars, and homes. However, the Prime Minister, Pascual Ortiz Rubio, created the Mexican Solution economic program. In 1932, many people were employed once more in public jobs either in the government, military, or in the national development sectors. Roads were built, and by 1933, the country had developed an important highway system, as well as numerous aerodromes. By 1935, the economic slum was over, but the economy of the country was still feeble and struggling.


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