Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Maximilian, Ferdinand (1832-67), Archduke of Austria and Emperor of Mexico, was born at Vienna, the brother of the Emperor Franz Joseph, and served for a time in the Austrian navy. In 1857 he married Charlotte, daughter of Leopold I., King of the Belgians, and was appointed governor of Lombardy and Venetia. Two years after he retired into private life, from which he was called in 1863 to accept the crown of Mexico, a step which he took by the advice of Napoleon III. He landed at Vera Cruz in 1864, and it soon became apparent that he had greater difficulties to encounter than he had anticipated from the hostility of the population and the disfavour of the United States. In 1867 he was besieged in Queretaro, and, being captured, was tried by court-martial and shot. His fate rendered his wife insane. The discredit his failure brought on Napoleon III. was perhaps the beginning of the downfall of the Empire.