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Maximilian.—Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
(born July 6, 1832, Vienna, Austriadied June 19, 1867, near Querétaro, Mex.) Archduke of Austria and emperor of Mexico (1864–67). The younger brother of Francis Joseph I of Austria-Hungary, he served in the Austrian navy and as governor-general of the Lombardo-Venetian kingdom. He accepted the offer of the Mexican throne, naively believing that the Mexicans had voted him their king. In fact, the offer was a scheme between Mexican conservatives, who wanted to overthrow Pres. Benito Juárez, and Napoleon III, who wanted to collect a debt from Mexico and had imperialist ambitions there. Intending to rule with paternal benevolence, Maximilian upheld Juárez's reforms, to the fury of the conservatives. The end of the American Civil War allowed the U.S. to intervene on Juárez's behalf; French forces that had been supporting Maximilian left at the request of the U.S., and Juárez's army retook Mexico City. Refusing to abdicate, Maximilian was defeated and executed.
Variants of MAXIMILIAN
Maximilian orig. Ferdinand Maximilian Joseph
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Maximilian, visit Britannica.com.