- Mexican Empire
The Mexican Empire or rarely Gran Mexico was the name of modern Mexico on two brief occasions in the 19th century when it was ruled by an emperor. With the Declaration of Independence of the Mexican Empire from Spain in 1821, Mexico became an independent monarchy, but was soon replaced with the First Mexican Republic. The latter reverted to the Second Mexican Empire 1864-1867.
First Mexican Empire
The First Mexican Empire lasted eighteen months, from 28 September 1821 to 19 March 1823 and had one emperor, Agustín de Iturbide. Its origins can be traced to Napoleon I of France's conquest of Spain in 1808 and his installation of Joseph Bonaparte as King of Spain. These events loosened Spain's hold on her American colonies, and the movement for Mexican independence grew stronger.
The Mexican War of Independence began in 1810 and continued until 1821, when rebel troops entered Mexico City after the Treaty of Córdoba was signed, whereby Spain's representative, Juan O'Donojú, recognized Mexico's independence. In that year, General Agustín de Iturbide, a Mexican-born criollo former royalist who had switched his allegiance to the insurgents in the final phases of the war, was elected head of a provisional junta government and of a regency that held the imperial power that the Spanish crown once had. On the night of 18 May 1822, a mass demonstration led by the Regiment of Celaya, which Iturbide had commanded during the war, marched through the streets and demanded that their commander-in-chief accept the throne. The next day the Sovereign Congress named him emperor, and on 21 May issued a decree officially confirming this appointment, which was officially a temporary measure until a European monarch could be found to rule Mexico.
Iturbide's official title was "By Divine Providence and the National Congress, First Constitutional Emperor of Mexico" (Spanish: Por la Divina Providencia y por el Congreso de la Nación, Primer Emperador Constitucional de México). His coronation took place on 21 July 1822, in Mexico City. The territorial area of the Mexican Empire of 1821 was about 5,000,000 square kilometers, ranging from the Oregon–California border at 42nd latitude north, to the boundary with Panama (at that time, part of Colombia). Most of the countries of Central America were part of Mexico—they became a separate federal republic after the Empire collapsed.
As factions in the Congress began to sharply criticise both Iturbide and his policies, the emperor decided on 31 October to dissolve it. This enraged the commander of the garrison at Veracruz, Antonio López de Santa Anna, who with his troops rose up against Iturbide and declared a republic on 1 December. Fearing for his life as the rebellion grew stronger, the emperor ordered the dissolved Congress to reassemble on 4 March 1823. He presented his abdication to it in a night-time session on 19 March. He fled to Italy shortly after. In April 1824 the Congress, having already declared his administration void, declared Iturbide a traitor. When he returned to Mexico in July 1824 he was arrested on arrival in Soto la Marina, Tamaulipas, and executed.
Second Mexican Empire
In 1860 Benito Juárez became president of Mexico. Juarez suspended all repayments on foreign debts, with the exception of those owed to the United States. In response, the principal creditors of the United Kingdom, France, and Spain sent a joint expeditionary force which occupied the port of Veracruz in December 1861. Juarez repaid most of the outstanding interest and agreed to honor the debts. Britain and Spain withdrew, their claims having been honoured, but not the French Empire which had a more ambitious goal in mind than merely the recovery of debts.
Napoleon III, heavily influenced by his romantically-minded wife, Eugénie de Montijo, decided to revive the Mexican monarchy. He wanted to place a fellow emperor on the throne who would promote the interests of France. Prior to 1861 any interference in the affairs of Mexico by any of the European powers would have been viewed as a challenge to the Monroe Doctrine of the United States. However, in 1861, the United States became entangled in the American Civil War and thus was unable to enforce the Doctrine. Encouraged by the Empress Eugenie, who saw herself as the champion of the beleaguered Catholic Church in Mexico, Napoleon III took advantage of the situation.
Many favored the nomination of Archduke Maximilian of Austria as monarch, and so, in May 1864, became the new emperor of Mexico, Maximilian I of Mexico, and with his consort, Carlota of Mexico, landed at Veracruz with the backing of Mexican conservatives, including the Mexican nobility, and France. Belgium — ruled by King Leopold I, Empress Carlota's father — also sent troops to aid the cause in Mexico.
Pretender to the Imperial Throne of Mexico
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Since the deposition of Maximilian I of the House of Habsburg as Emperor of Mexico in 1867, there has been a pretender line of accession to the throne through his adopted son, the grandson of Mexico's first emperor, Agustin I. The current Pretender to the throne of Mexico is Maximiliano de Götzen-Itúrbide, born in 1944. He is not a male-line descendant, but inherited his claim following the death of his grandmother, Princess Maria Josepha Sophia de Iturbide, who was the daughter of Prince Salvador de Iturbide y de Marzán, Emperor Maximilian's adoptee along with his cousin Agustin. Maximiliano de Götzen-Iturbide resides in Australia. Should the entire line of the pretender House of Itúrbide or House of Habsburg-Itúrbide fail, along with all other descendants of Agustín de Iturbide, the next likely successors might be the descendants of the siblings of Agustin I, or a member of the House of Habsburg.
Line of succession to the Imperial Throne of Mexico
Head of the Imperial house of Mexico: Don Maximiliano Gustav Albrecht Richard Agustin de Götzen-Itúrbide, Count of Götzen (b. March 1944)
- (Count) Don Fernando Leopold Maximiliano Gustav Salvador de Götzen-Itúrbide (b. August 1992), Prince de Itúrbide with the qualification of Highness. Son of Maximiliano de Götzen-Itúrbide
- (Countess) Doña Emanuela Charlotte Maria Helena de Götzen-Itúrbide (b. September 1998), Princess de Itúrbide with the qualification of Highness. Daughter of Maximiliano de Götzen-Itúrbide
- (Countess) Doña Emanuela (Emma) Huberta Johanna Maria Gizella de Götzen-Itúrbide, Princess de Itúrbide with the qualification of Highness (b. September 1945) Sister of Maximiliano de Götzen-Itúrbide
- Nicholas MacAulay (b. 1970), Nephew of Maximiliano de Götzen-Itúrbide
- Edward MacAulay (b. 1973), Nephew of Maximiliano de Götzen-Itúrbide
- Augustin MacAulay (b. 1977), Nephew of Maximiliano de Götzen-Itúrbide
- Patrick MacAulay (b. 1979), Nephew of Maximiliano de Götzen-Itúrbide
- Philip MacAulay (b. 1981), Nephew of Maximiliano de Götzen-Itúrbide
- Camilla MacAulay (b. 1972), Niece of Maximiliano de Götzen-Itúrbide
- Gizella MacAulay (b. 1985), Niece of Maximiliano de Götzen-Itúrbide
- Mexican War of Independence
- Declaration of Independence of the Mexican Empire
- Mexican Imperial Orders
- Imperial Crown of Mexico
- Emperor of Mexico
- Empire of Brazil
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