Also found in: Dictionary, Wikipedia.
Maximilian,1832–67, emperor of Mexico (1864–67). As the Austrian archduke Ferdinand Maximilian, he was denied a share in the imperial government by his reactionary brother, Emperor Francis JosephFrancis Joseph
or Franz Joseph,
1830–1916, emperor of Austria (1848–1916), king of Hungary (1867–1916), nephew of Ferdinand, who abdicated in his favor.
..... Click the link for more information. . Maximilian served as commander in chief of the Austrian fleet and was governor-general of Lombardo-Venetia (1857–59), but he found no outlet for his dreams of liberal reform. When Mexican conservatives negotiated with Napoleon IIINapoleon III
(Louis Napoleon Bonaparte), 1808–73, emperor of the French (1852–70), son of Louis Bonaparte (see under Bonaparte, family), king of Holland. Early Life
..... Click the link for more information. to found a Mexican empire, Maximilian was persuaded to accept the crown. He and his wife, CarlottaCarlotta,
Span. Carlota , 1840–1927, empress of Mexico, daughter of Leopold I of Belgium, christened Marie Charlotte Amélie. She married (1857) Maximilian, archduke of Austria and accompanied him when he went to Mexico as emperor (1864).
..... Click the link for more information. , left their palace near Trieste and sailed (1864) to Mexico.
The empire was a failure from the start. Maximilian, who had no real understanding of Mexico, found most of the country hostile to him and loyal to Benito JuárezJuárez, Benito
, 1806–72, Mexican liberal statesman and national hero. Revered by Mexicans as one of their greatest political figures, Juárez, with great moral courage and honesty, upheld the civil law and opposed the privileges of the clericals and the army.
..... Click the link for more information. . He alienated the conservatives by his liberal tendencies and others of his supporters by his decree (1865) ordering the summary execution of all followers of Juárez. Indeed, Maximilian's tenure rested solely on French soldiers, who drove Juárez and his liberal army to the north. The European monarchs, except Napoleon III, were lukewarm. The United States, irked by this violation of the Monroe DoctrineMonroe Doctrine,
principle of American foreign policy enunciated in President James Monroe's message to Congress, Dec. 2, 1823. It initially called for an end to European intervention in the Americas, but it was later extended to justify U.S.
..... Click the link for more information. , was frankly hostile and was prevented from interfering only by the American Civil War.
When affairs in France and the cessation of the Civil War impelled Napoleon III to withdraw (1866–67) the French troops from Mexico, the flimsy fabric of the empire dissolved. For a time Maximilian considered abdication, but he was irresolute. In 1866, Empress Carlotta went to Europe and vainly sought aid from Napoleon III and the pope. Maximilian, in desperation, assumed personal command of his forces, then mostly concentrated at Querétaro. There, after a siege (March–May, 1867), he was captured and shot. He wrote Aus meinem Leben (1865, tr. Recollections of My Life, 1868).
See J. Musser, The Establishment of Maximilian's Empire in Mexico (1918, repr. 1976); E. Corti, Maximilian and Charlotte of Mexico (1928, repr. 1968); Maximilian, Emperor of Mexico: Memoirs of His Private Secretary, José Luis Blasio (tr. and ed. by R. H. Murray, 1934).
In the Holy Roman Empire:
Maximilian I. Born Mar. 22, 1459, in Wiener Neustadt; died Jan. 12, 1519, in Wels. Emperor from 1493; Austrian archduke. Member of the Hapsburg dynasty. Son and heir of Emperor Frederick III.
Maximilian I acquired the Netherlands and Franche-Comte through his marriage to Mary of Burgundy in 1477. He made use of marital unions to secure the Spanish, Hungarian, and Bohemian thrones for his successors. He initiated the real unification of the Hapsburgs’ Austrian holdings and the centralization of their administration. On the other hand, the efforts at imperial reform undertaken under Maximilian I (the resolutions of the German imperial diets of 1495 and 1500 on the creation of empire-wide judicial and administrative institutions, the proclamation of a Landfriede, etc.) proved to have little effect because of the surviving absolute power of the princes. Defeated in what was called the Swabian War against the Swiss (1499), Maximilian I was obliged to recognize the definitive separation of Switzerland from the empire. Also unsuccessful was his intervention in the Italian Wars of 1494-1559. Diplomatic relations with the Russian state were established under Maximilian I.
Maximilian II. Born Aug. 1, 1527, in Vienna; died Oct. 12, 1576, in Regensburg. Emperor from 1564; Austrian archduke. Son of Emperor Ferdinand I.
Upon the division of lands among the members of the Hapsburg house in 1564, Maximilian II received Upper and Lower Austria and the crown of Bohemia and Hungary. Depending completely on Austrian, Bohemian, and Hungarian feudal lords in financial questions, he was forced to make substantial concessions to them. Under Maximilian II, Protestantism spread widely in the Hapsburg lands.