"Last Emperor of Mexico" Tells the Story of Archduke Maximillian, the Altruistic Ruler of Mexico

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30 September 2017
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Last Emperor of Mexico
Courtesy of Smithsonian Channel
"Last Emperor of Mexico"
Premieres Monday, October 2 at 8 PM ET/PT on Smithsonian Channel
 
          Austrian Archduke Maximilian spent his life yearning for the crown his older brother Franz was destined to wear. When the opportunity arose to cross the Atlantic and become the Emperor of Mexico, his dreams of becoming a ruler would finally come true. But a series of poor choices, wrong alliances, and ill-timed events turned his dream into a nightmare. Witness the tragic story of this complex and conflicted member of the powerful Habsburg family as we relive the circumstances behind this seminal moment in Mexican and Austrian history.
 
         In 1861, Mexico refused to pay back the sizable debt it owed to countries like France. It was a decision that would prompt France, under Napoleon III, to launch a full-scale invasion.
 

         Since childhood, Archduke Maximilian, wished for nothing more than to emerge from his sibling‘s shadow. Maximilian believed he was welcome in Mexico, but the opposite was the case. He was finally captured by his adversary, Benito Juarez, and sentenced to death. Maximilian‘s dreams of becoming a glorious ruler die with him, cut down by a firing squad. The documentary examines the fate of the contradictory and complex Habsburg and investigates the circumstances that led to his tragic failure from various perspectives.

 


 
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