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Emperor Maximilian I and Empress Charlotte Hapsburg: Their Impact on Mexican Dress, 1864–1867

by Rosa Edith Moya & Angela Bernice Kennedy

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In the chaotic, insecure nineteenth century, México experienced various forms of government without achieving stability. The foreign monarchy known as the Second Empire (1864–1867) imposed Maximilian I and Charlotte (Maximiliano and Carlota) Hapsburg as Emperor and Empress and stands out for its cultural impact. Mexicans were bitterly divided over a return to European rule or to forge their own national identity. This work analyses newspaper accounts and memoirs to study the monarchy’s influence on fashion that mirrored this duality. The royal couple wore formal European court dress but fostered a two-level sartorial culture on the country during their short reign by also adopting Indigenous dress, an influence that became iconic for the national identity.

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