Intervention in Mexico
This disastrous attempt to create an imperial client state in Mexico between 1862-67 ended in military humiliation for France
France’s attempt to establish an imperial client state in Mexico ended in humiliation
BATTLE OF PUEBLA 5 MAY 1862 PUEBLA CITY
French general Charles de Lorencez leads an army towards Mexico City, but the path is blocked at Puebla. The French attack a fortified Mexican defensive position but are repulsed by republicans led by Ignacio Zaragoza. The French lose hundreds of men and are forced to retreat to the coast.
SIEGE OF PUEBLA 16 MARCH-17 MAY 1863 PUEBLA CITY
The French encircle Puebla and make several assaults against the republican garrison. Mexican attempts to relieve the siege fail, and the garrison eventually asks for an armistice. The French occupy the city, which also opens the road to Mexico City.
BATTLE OF CAMARÓN 30 APRIL 1863 CAMARÓN DE TEJEDA, VERACRUZ
The French Foreign Legion fights its most famous action while protecting a supply convoy travelling to the Siege of Puebla. 3,000 Mexican republicans attack 65 legionnaires, but they refuse to surrender. 43 legionnaires are killed after inflicting hundreds of casualties on their attackers. 17 are wounded and only two remain unwounded.
BATTLE OF SAN LORENZO 8 MAY 1863 SAN LORENZO ALMECATLA, PUEBLA
Mexican troops commanded by Ignacio Comonfort are defeated by the French and suffer 2,000 dead, wounded and captured prisoners. This battle forces the Mexicans to abandon their capital city.
BATTLE OF JIQUILPAN 22 NOVEMBER 1864 JIQUILPAN, MICHOACÁN
An outnumbered Mexican republican force is almost obliterated by the French and Mexican imperialists.
Although Colonel Justin Clinchant of the 2nd Zouaves is shot in the leg he is still able to receive the republican surrender.
BATTLE OF TACÁMBARO 11 APRIL 1865 TACÁMBARO, MICHOACÁN
3,000 Mexican republicans defeat 300 soldiers of the Belgian Legion. The Belgians defend positions in the town of Tacámbaro for five hours while hoping for reinforcements. They are forced to surrender, and their reinforcements arrive four days too late.
BATTLE OF MIAHUATLÁN 3 OCTOBER 1866 MIAHUATLÁN DE PORFIRIO DÍAZ, OAXACA
By october 1866, French forces have withdrawn from Mexico, leaving their imperialist supporters without military backing. Mexican republican troops decisively defeat the imperialists at Miahuatlán, which enables them to advance on oaxaca City.
SIEGE OF QUERÉTARO 6 MARCH-15 MAY 1867 QUERÉTARO CITY
Querétaro ends the Second French intervention in Mexico when republicans decisively defeat the French-backed Maximilian I. The Austrian-born Mexican emperor is captured and later executed by firing squad on 19 June 1867.
“THE AUSTRIAN-BORN MEXICAN EMPEROR IS CAPTURED AND LATER EXECUTED BY FIRING SQUAD”
LEFT: CaptainJean Danjou, commander of the legionnaires at Camarón, is killed, but his recovered prosthetic hand becomes the most cherished relic of the French Foreign Legion
BELOW: Belgian Legion soldiers photographed in 1865. 1,500 of these volunteers served in the army of Emperor Maximilian I, whose wife was the daughter of Leopold I of Belgium Militiamen of the republican 6th Battalion, Mexican National Guard entering the plaza of Querétaro