Mexican Expedition of 1861–67

Mexican Expedition of 1861–67


an armed intervention in Mexico by Great Britain (1862), Spain (1861–62), and France (1862–67) to overthrow the progressive government of B. Juárez and transform Mexico into a colony of the European powers.

The pretext for the intervention was a law adopted by the Mexican Congress on July 17, 1861, to temporarily cease repayment of foreign debts. Lord Palmerston’s government in Great Britain organized the expedition, and on Oct. 31, 1861, Great Britain, France, and Spain signed an agreement for intervention in Mexico. At the end of 1861, Spanish troops occupied Veracruz, Mexico’s chief port, and in January 1862, British and French troops landed there. The stubborn resistance of Mexican patriots and disagreements among the interventionists resulted in the recall of the British and Spanish forces from Mexico in April 1862. France, however, continued its military operations.

In June 1863, French troops captured Mexico City, and in April 1864, Maximilian I, a protege of Napoleon III, was placed on the Mexican throne. The heroic guerrilla struggle, the counteroffensive by regular units of the Mexican Army, which dealt decisive blows to the interventionists, the firm policy of the Juarez government, which sought to take advantage of the Franco-American controversy (exacerbated by the intervention), and the unpopularity of the Mexican adventure in France itself resulted in the collapse of the expedition. In March 1867 the French forces left Mexico, and Maximilian, who attempted to resist the Mexican troops, was captured and shot.


Ocherki novoi i noveishei istorii Meksiki, 1810–1945. Moscow, 1961. Pages 189–221.
Belen’kii, A. B. Razgrom meksikanskim narodom inostrannoi interventsii (1861–1867). Moscow, 1959.