Mexico – the French Intervention and the 2nd Empire, 1862-1867 (TABLE)

Mexico - the French Intervention and the 2nd Empire, 1862-1867

On January 6, 1862, an expeditionary force of 2500 French, 800 English and 6800 Spanish appeared before the coast of Mexico and occupied the town of Vera Cruz to coerce the Mexican government into paying its debts. It was the beginning of an ignominious adventure that became known as the French Intervention: an attempt of the French Emperor Napoleon III to bring the economy of Central America under his control. To that end, Mexico was to be given a solid, trustworthy government on the European model. Head of state was to be Ferdinand Maximilian of Habsburg, brother to the Austrian emperor Franz Joseph I, who, as Maximiliano I, briefly ruled over this ephemeral “Second Mexican Empire”.


1 – the origins
2 – the French embark
3 – war
4 – an empire is forged
5 – the archdupes
6 – great expectations
7 – the cold light of day
8 – humpty dumpty
9 – the end
10 – epilogue



  • H.H. Pope Pius IX: Quanta Cura. Rome, 1864.
  • The Mexican Question: Messages of the President of the United States to Congress, with accompanying Documents relating to Mexican Affairs, 1862-1866. The North American Review, July 1866.
  • United States War dept.: The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Washington, 1880-1901.
  • Sarah Y. Stevenson: A woman’s reminiscences of Mexico during the French intervention. New York, 1898.
  • Pierre de la Gorce: L’Histoire du Second Empire. Paris, 1894-1906.
  • Pierre Renouvin: Histoire des Relations Internationales. Paris, 1954.
  • Pierre Labracherie: NapolĂ©on III et son temps. Paris, 1967.
  • Pierre Miquel: Le Second Empire. Paris, 1992.
  • Janine Lambotte: Charlotte & Maximilien: l’Empire des Archidupes. Bruxelles, 1993.
  • Edwin C. Fishel: A Cable from Napoleon. CIA Historical Review Program, 1993.
  • Mia Kerckvoorde: Charlotte, La Passion et la FatalitĂ©. Bruxelles, 2001


Mexico - the French Intervention and the 2nd Empire, 1862-1867

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