Maximilian I of Mexico

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Maximilian I of Mexico

Maximilian I of Mexico (1832 – 1867) was a member of the Imperial House of Habsburg-Lorraine. After a distinguished career in the Austrian Navy he was proclaimed Emperor of Mexico, during the Second Mexican Empire. Many Europeans, and Viennese in particular, suspected that he was actually fathered by Napoleon II of France, also known as the Duke of Reichstadt). Those who believe this talk about the unnaturally close relationship that existed between Sophie and Napoleon II. It was said that Sophie never recovered after his death and that she blamed it on Metternich for the rest of her life and that, from birth, Maximilian's stature resembled Napoleon II's more than that of Franz Karl, his older brother, or any of his younger brothers. He ruled as the Emperor of Mexico from 1864 to 1867. He was installed by occupying French forces under Napoleon III. When the French left in 1867, Maximilian refused to go with them, believing he had the support of the people. He was captured by Benito Juarez’s Republican forces and executed by firing squad on June 19, 1867.