Ferdinand Maximilian Joseph(1832-1867) was born in Austria. He was the son of Napoleon Franz, who was the son of Luis Napoleon, and was born in the castle of Schoenburn. His mother was the Archdutchness Sophie. He and his family were good friends with Louis Napoleon. He also was a member of the House of Hapsburg. He married Princess Carlota, the daughter of King Leopold I, in 1857. He also learned to speak German, English, Hungarian, Slavic, and Spainish. He was dreamy and artistic as a child. He was a fairly good horseman.
He came to Mexico in 1864 to begin his rule over the country. Napoleon III sent French troops to protect Maximilian from the opposition of the Republicans. Most accounts say that this gentle man had the best of intentions in coming to Mexico. He made a genuine attempt to govern the country and help the Mexican people the best he knew how. His attempts were in vain, however. He had been deceived in the first place by Napolean, who simply used him as a puppet to rule Mexico. Most Mexicans resented the presence of Maximilian.
The United States objected to France's presence in Mexico because they saw it as a threat to the Western Hemisphere. The United States, however, was distracted by its own civil war and did not take action until 1865. The United States began insisting that Napoleon withdraw his troops. Evantually he did. Maximilian refused to go. Without the protection of the French troops, the Republican forces of Benito Juárez were able to regain control of Mexico.
Maximilian was captured on May 15, 1867 in Queretaro, Mexico. Maximilian was tried by court-martial under the order of Juárez. On June 19, 1867 he was executed by firing squad. He paid each of the seven gunmen one ounce of gold not to shoot him in the head, because he wanted his mother to see him one last time when he was in his coffin. Maximilian was calm before he was executed. His last words were in Spanish, "I forgive everybody. I pray that everybody may also forgive me, and my blood which is about to be shed will bring peace to Mexico. Long live Mexico! Long live Independence!
After Maximilian died, Carlota returned to France and figured out that Napoleon didn't care about Maximilian. When a servant gave Carlota a drink she accused him of poisoning it. She was a peaceful person before, but after Maximilian's death she went crazy. She went into great depression, and died several years later.