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160th Anniversary of Archduke Maximilian becoming Emperor of Mexico

On this day [10April] in 1864 the Archduke from the house of Habsburg-Lorraine, used to the easy life in Vienna, became the Emperor of Mexico as part of the French intervention in Mexican politics.

He was the younger brother of Franz Joseph I, who ruled Austro-Hungary for more than sixty years.

It didn't go well for Max -- he was executed in the summer of 1867 when Benito Juarez assumed the presidency of the new Mexican Republic

Makes for some good reading,

and for some interesting speculation about connections with the rebellion of the southern slaveholders happening just to the north.

Posted by
7605 posts

A few days ago, at the National Galkery in London, I saw the panting by Edouard Manet of the execution of Maximilian. It had, however, at one time been cut up into sections, and most of the pieces were subsequently gathered together by fellow painter Edgar Degas. The pieces are now positioned together on a wall, to help show what the most of the original painting must’ve looked like. The only part of Maximilian that remains from the painting is of his left hand, at the far left edge of the surviving piece of the painting. Apparently Maximalian was originally removed by a firing squad, and his image subsequently removed by a pair of scissors.

Posted by
3985 posts

And you can tour one of his homes in Trieste. It’s called Miramare Castle but I would liken it to a Manor house.

Posted by
2581 posts

Just in time for summer reading is a new history book from Harvard Univ Press about the ways that European powers tried to take advantage of the tumult going on in North America during this period -- southern slaveholders trying to destroy our nation, Mexico separating from Spain, etc, and it (the book) is a doozy:

Habsburgs on the Rio Grande
The Rise and Fall of the Second Mexican Empire
Raymond Jonas

"The story of how nineteenth-century European rulers conspired with Mexican conservatives in an outlandish plan to contain the rising US colossus by establishing Old World empire on its doorstep."

It was a featured review in the NYT two weeks after I posted this originally:

Maybe it deserves a new post rather than a comment on this one?