The tragic story of Maximilian of Mexico is one of political opportunism and rank treachery. Maximilian and his lovely wife Carlotta, who were pampered European royalty, were in no way prepared for the back-stabbing treachery from both Mexicans and Europeans which confronted them when they accepted the crown of the Mexico.
The life story of Maximilian First in Mexico is one of the saddest of tragedies. Admitting that he was in some respects a weak sovereign and incompetent for the task he undertook, the tragedy is none the less sad. The dreadful fate which overtook the Empress Carlotta only adds to the gloom of the situation, and, if all reports are true, serves to emphasize Mexican cruelty and treachery, for in official circles it is generally believed she was made insane by a poisonous herb secretly mixed with her drink.
Maximilian himself was a gentleman in the best sense of the term, gentle, courteous, refined, and scholarly; unfitted for the position he held, inexperienced in political matters, and ignorant how to contend with guile and treachery of the basest kind. He was virtually forced to ascend the Mexican throne, and consented only when he was assured that the Mexican people had enthusiastically elected him. Once there, he found himself the victim of treacherous plots and deadly hatred. He had but few friends upon whom he could rely, and they were unable to aid him in the hour of greatest danger. Louis Napoleon, who was chiefly instrumental in sending him there, violated his agreements, withdrew the French troops from Mexico, and abandoned him as a prey to his vindictive enemies, at whose hands he died like a gentleman and a hero, leaving the Empress to suffer the tortures of living death in a European asylum. History recalls few sadder tragedies than the one contained in the story of Maximilian's three years in Mexico.
The following is a chronological statement of important events connected with Maximilian:
|1832||Birth of Maximilian.|
|1857||Marriage to Carlotta.|
|1859||Retires to Miramar.|
|1863||Mexican Embassy visits Miramar.|
|1864||Arrival in Mexico.|
|1866||The Empress goes to Europe,|
|1867||Departure of the French.|
|1867||Downfall of the Mexican Empire.|
|1867||Execution of Maximilian.|