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How the Black Decree Led to This Mexican Emperor's Doom

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How the Black Decree Led to This Mexican Emperor's Doom

Short | 03:05

The French-backed Emperor Ferdinand Maximilian of Mexico was losing the raging civil war. In 1865, this prompted him to issue a savage decree: all armed opponents of his rule were to be executed without trial.

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In Austria, he was known as an art collector and idealist. In Mexico, he was a colonialist aggressor responsible for thousands of deaths. And in France, he lost an empire. But who was the real Archduke Maximilian? Join us as we examine the brief and contentious reign of the last emperor of Mexico, a complex and conflicted member of the powerful Habsburg family, from his royal childhood in Vienna to his alliance with Napoleon III, who wanted to expand his empire to the Western Hemisphere.

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