Maximilian of Austria, emperor of Mexico

MONARCH (AUSTRIA)
BORN 6 Jul 1832, Wien - DIED 19 Jun 1867, Queretaro
REAL NAME Ferdinand Maximiliaan von Habsburg
GRAVE LOCATION Wien: Kapuzinergruft, Tegetthoffstraße 2

Maximilian was a younger brother of emperor Francis Joseph of Austria. In 1857 his brother made him governor of Lombardy and Venice. In the same year he married the Belgian princess Charlotte, the daughter of king Leopold I. He lived with her at Miramar, near Trieste.

In 1864 emperor Napoleon III offered Maximilian the crown of Mexico. He accepted and left for Mexico in 1864. But the opposition against the monarchy was worse than expected and Maximilian was completely dependent on the the French army under Bazaine. Napoleon III decided to withdraw his troops and Maximilian was advised to abdicate.

He decided not to do so and in 1866 Charlotte went to Europe to look for support. After Napoleon III refused to let the French troops stay in Mexico she was showing sings of madness and didn't return to Mexico. In February, 1867 the French troops left Mexico City. Maximilian remarked that he was glad that he was 'finally free', but three months later he was imprisoned by the rebels. On June 19th he was executed.

Napoleon III burst into tears when he heard the news on June 30th and Francis Joseph immediately returned to Vienna from a holiday in Bavaria. The new Mexican government would only release Maximilian's body if it was recognized by Austria. On November 26th his remains were finally given to admiral Tegetthoff who brought them back to Austria on the Navara, the same ship that had taken Maximilian to Mexico in 1864.

Maximilian's remains reached the Südbahnhof in Vienna on January 17th, 1868. The entire imperial family was present, except for empress Elisabeth. On January 18th he was laid to rest in the Kapuzinergruft, next to the Duke of Reichstadt.

Family
• Wife: Charlotte, empress of Mexico, princess of Belgium (1857-)

Related persons
• was pupil to Clairmont, Charles Gaulis
• was painted by Winterhalter, Franz Xaver

Sources
• Haslip, Joan, Imperial Adventurer: Emperor Maximilian of Mexico, and his Empress, Cardinal, London, 1974

Images

The coffin of Maximilian of Austria, emperor of Mexico, at the Kapuzinergruft, Vienna.
Picture by Androom (13 Aug 1995)

 

Statue of Maximilian, emperor of Mexico, in Hietzing, Vienna.
Picture by androom (15 Aug 2006)

 


May, Karl

Published: 20 May 2007
Last update: 27 May 2007