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CaptionThe new emperor of Mexico landed at Veracruz on 21 May 1864 to wild enthusiasm from the crowds. He had the backing of Mexican conservatives and Napoleon III but from the very outset he found himself involved in serious difficulties since the Liberal forces led by President Benito Juárez refused to recognize his rule. There was continuous warfare between his French troops and the Republicans. --- --- --- The Imperial couple chose as their seat Mexico City. The Emperor and Empress set up their residence at Chapultepec Castle located on the top of a hill formerly at the outskirts of Mexico City that had been a retreat of Aztec emperors. Maximilian ordered a wide avenue cut through the city from Chapultepec to the city center; it is today Mexico City's famous boulevard Paseo de la Reforma. He also acquired a country retreat at Cuernavaca. The royal couple made plans to be crowned at the Catedral Metropolitana but the coronation was never carried out. --- --- --- Maximilian was shocked by the living conditions of the poor in contrast to the magnificent haciendas of the upper class. Empress Carlota began holding parties for the wealthy Mexicans to raise money for poor houses. One of Maximilian's first acts as Emperor was to restrict working hours and abolish child labour. He cancelled all debts for peasants over 10 pesos restored communal property and forbade all forms of corporal punishment. He also broke the monopoly of the Hacienda stores and decreed that henceforth peons could no longer be bought and sold for the price of their debt. --- --- --- After the end of the American Civil War the US government used increasing diplomatic pressure to persuade Napoleon III to end French support of Maximilian and to withdraw French troops from Mexico. Washington began supplying partisans of Juárez and his ally Porfirio Díaz by "losing" arms depots for them at El Paso del Norte at the Mexican border. --- --- --- Maximilian refused to desert his followers.
HeadlineThe new emperor of Mexico landed at Veracruz on 21 May 1864 to wild enthusiasm from the crowds. He had the backing of Mexican conservatives and Napoleon III but the Liberal forces led by President Benito Juárez refused to recognize his rule
KeywordsBenito-Juarez Napoleon-III

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