Start My Family Tree Welcome to Geni, home of the world's largest family tree.
Join Geni to explore your genealogy and family history in the World's Largest Family Tree.

French Intervention in Mexico, 1862-1867

« Back to Projects Dashboard

Project Tags

view all


This project is about the ill-fated French intervention in Mexico to support Emperor Maximillian of Austria as the "Emperor of Mexico" introduced the Foreign Legion into that theater.


The French intervention in Mexico (Spanish: Segunda Intervención Francesa en México), also known as the Maximilian Affair, War of the French Intervention, and the Franco-Mexican War, was an invasion of Mexico by the Second French Empire, supported in the beginning by Great Britain and Spain. It followed President Benito Juárez's suspension of interest payments to foreign countries on 17 July 1861, which angered Mexico's major creditors: Spain, France and Britain.

Napoleon III of France was the instigator, justifying military intervention by claiming a broad foreign policy of commitment to free trade. For him, a friendly government in Mexico would ensure European access to Latin American markets. Napoleon also wanted the silver that could be mined in Mexico to finance his empire. Napoleon built a coalition with Spain and Britain while the U.S. was engaged in a full-scale civil war. The U.S. protested but could do nothing until 1865.

The three European powers signed the Treaty of London on October 31, to unite their efforts to receive payments from Mexico. On 8 December the Spanish fleet and troops arrived at Mexico's main port, Veracruz. When the British and Spanish discovered however that France planned to seize all of Mexico, they quickly withdrew.

The subsequent French invasion resulted in the Second Mexican Empire, which was supported by the Roman Catholic clergy, many conservative elements of the upper class, and some indigenous communities; the presidential terms of Benito Juárez (1858–71) were interrupted by the rule of the Habsburg monarchy in Mexico (1864–67). Conservatives, and many in the Mexican nobility, tried to revive the monarchical form of government (see: First Mexican Empire) when they helped to bring to Mexico an archduke from the Royal House of Austria, Maximilian Ferdinand, or Maximilian I of Mexico (who married Charlotte of Belgium, also known as Carlota of Mexico), with the military support of France. France had various interests in this Mexican affair, such as seeking reconciliation with Austria, which had been defeated during the Franco-Austrian War of 1859, counterbalancing the growing American Protestant power by developing a powerful Catholic neighboring empire, and exploiting the rich mines in the north-west of the country.

Notables - French/Mexican Empires

  • Maximilian I of Mexico
  • Napoleon III
  • Dubois de Saligny (to 1862)
  • Edmond Jurien de La Gravière (to 1862)
  • Charles de Lorencez
  • François Achille Bazaine
  • Elie Frédéric Forey
  • Miguel Miramón
  • Tomás Mejía
  • Alfred Van der Smissen
  • Franz Graf Thun-Hohenstein
  • Don Juan Prim y Prats
  • Sir Charles L. Wyke
  • Commodore Dunlop
  • George M. Flournoy
  • Theophilus Allan Jones
  • Williams Ferguson Slemons

Notables - Republican/United Mexican States

  • Benito Juárez
  • Ignacio Zaragoza
  • Porfirio Díaz
  • Mariano Escobedo
  • José María Yáñez
  • Manuel Doblado
  • Juan N. Méndez
  • George M. Green
  • John Sobieski

Notables Cruzoob State

  • Venancio Puz
  • Bonifacio Novelo
  • José Crescencio Poot
  • Bernabé Cen