After the War of Reform (1857-60), Mexico owed a total of 82.2 million pesos to France, Britain, and Spain. Benito Juarez, the liberal president, requested to Congress to have all foreign interest payments suspended for 2 years due to lack of funds to pay it. On October 31, 1861 Britain, France and Spain signed the Convention of London which agreed they would send a joint expedition to seize Vera Cruz. On December 14, 1861, a fleet of 6,243 Spaniards landed on Vera Cruz, followed by 3,000 French troops, and 700 British marines on January 8, 1862. For the Spanish and British, their goal was to collect the debts owed to their nations, but the French had a plan to make an excuse to put Archduke Maximilian of Austria on the throne. Juarez did not have the money and resources to put up a good fight, but to Juarez’s advantage the foreigners were being taken down by yellow fever. Soon, the Spanish and British realized what the French’s intentions were and withdrew in April 1862.
Napoleon III of France was made to believe that the Mexican population was just waiting to overthrow the Liberals. On March 5, 1862, 4,000 French reinforcements led by General Guillaume Latrille de Lorencez joined 6,500 other French in Vera Cruz. Juarez’s army was no match for the French because it consisted of amateurs and guerillas, who couldn’t be counted on to stay loyal. On May 5, 1862 (Cinco de Mayo), the 6,500 troops of the French thought they would be welcomed by their Mexican Conservative allies in Puebla. They were instead surprised by 3,791 Liberals commanded by General Ignacio Zaragoza. De Lorencez threw his forces at them, but just ended up expending half of their ammo and sustaining 476 casualties. In September and October 1862, Napoleon III sent over around 26,000 more troops to Vera Cruz and replaced de Lorencez with General Forey. The second attack against Puebla started on March 16, 1863. Defending the city was 23,930 men under General Ortega and another 8,000 men under General Comonfort. The Mexican Liberals were able to hold off the French until March 29. Then on May 10, the French ambushed the Mexicans killing 1,000 soldiers and capturing another 1,000. After Puebla was taken down, the French moved along to Mexico City which was abandoned by Juarez, the Cabinet and any Mexican soldiers because of the little defense there. The French were welcomed enthusiastically when they arrived in June.
Archduke Maximilian was asked to be Mexico’s new Emperor in June 1863, formally accepted on April 9, 1864, landed in Vera Cruz on May 28 and entered Mexico City on June 12. Meanwhile, 27,000 French and 8,000 Conservative troops were chasing Juarez north. The Liberals were defeated at every battle they encountered. Maximilian had multiple problems. One problem was money. The war was costly and he had to depend on Napoleon III for funds. However, he did not spend his money thoughtfully. He would have balls and banquets, buy extravagant gifts for his loyal followers, and spent a lot of money restoring his castle. After the American Civil War was over, 3,000 Union soldiers joined the Liberal soldiers and fire arms just happened to be left by the Mexican border for the Liberals to find them. Then the U.S. sent 50,000 troops to the Mexican border and demanded the French to leave Mexico in February 1866. Juarez and his Liberal army was becoming stronger and the French were losing battles. Napoleon III told Marshall Bazaine to make one last attempt to destroy Juarez then come home. Maximilian slowly started to realize that Napoleon was going to desert him, but with his wife giving him hope that he could still win, Maximilian formed a Native army.
Ultra-Conservatives convinced Maximilian that victory was still possible and Conservative Generals Marquez and Miramon returned from exile ready to fight Juarez. Bazaine tried to convince Maximilian to abdicate, but failed to do so. He destroyed any war supplies he could not carry off hoping that it would help change Maximilian’s mind, but that didn’t work either. The French army left from Vera Cruz on March 12, 1867. The Conservatives persuaded Maximilian to join the 10,000-man army they formed in Queretaro. Three Liberal armies converged on Queretaro: “The Army of the North”, “The Army of the Center”, and “The Army of the West”. It consisted of about 40,000 men. On March 27, on instructions to go to Mexico City, General Marquez went to Puebla also to relieve the Conservatives besieged by Porfirio Diaz. Diaz heard of Marquez’s approach and was prepared to take him on. Marquez was defeated in Puebla and fled to Mexico City, then Cuba. On May 14, Maximilian planned to make a break-out out of Queretaro, but Col. Miguel Lopez betrayed Maximilian and let some Liberals through his trenches. The Liberals took the town with ease. Maximilian was captured on May 15 with Mejia. They were tried at court- marshal and were sentenced to death along with General Miramon. Benito Juarez returned to Mexico City on July 15. This war ended the struggles between the Conservatives and Liberals but only for 33 years.
Oil is Venezuela’s biggest resource. In the 1950s, the development of oil by local oligarchs and foreign corporations united together to drive Venezuela to be a first world country. But the political instability has hindered their progress. In the early 1970s, Venezuela and other founding member of OPEC collected the single largest transfer of wealth without war in history. The country relied on the income of oil too much and abandoned its agricultural economy. In the 1980s, prices in oil dropped which created deficits, major debts, and accelerating inflation. In 1998, Hugo Chavez became president of the country and is still president to this day. The socialist governing of the country with a selfish and narcissistic president who uses his oil money more for political purposes rather than taking better care of his country and citizens has obstructed Venezuela’s development into a first world country.
Brazil’s economy is one of the world’s ten largest . Exports near $100 billion a year with only 10 percent of it in agriculture. Some of the agriculture include beef, oranges, sugar, coffee, poultry, pork, and soy. 80% of South America’s top 500 companies are Brazilian. They also manufacture and export things such as steel and airplanes. Racism does not segregate people in Brazil. There are many different races in Southern Brazil and they all refer to themselves as “Brazilians”. However, class separates them more than anything. Although the country brings in a huge income, there are still shantytowns and other poor areas in the big cities. There is also a large amount of crime and violence in these areas as well.
Chile is as long as America is wide with a coastline of 3,000 miles long. Chile is Latin America’s role model and is the only country in Latin America that stands a chance to become a first world country in the near future. Santiago is the continent’s second business hub behind Sao Paulo. It also has a great government style that promotes education and technology which have doubled incomes since 1990 and put the poverty level below 15%. It also keeps out of disorderly continental affairs, but looks for practical alliances all over. The government remains stable with a president, Michelle Bachelet, who is a former revolutionary, torture victim, divorced single mother, pediatrician, and ex-defense minister.
The Football War was a four day war between Honduras and El Salvador from July 14, 1969 to July 18, 1969. The main cause was because Honduras was taking the land away from the many Salvadoran immigrants and giving it to Honduran- born people. This left many people homeless and upset them. It is called the Football War because during the war the North American Qualifying rounds for the 1970 FIFA World Cup for football (soccer) were being held. During the qualifying rounds between Honduras and El Salvador, the fans rioted against each other from current tensions. The fighting between the two nations had begun and after the first day of fighting the Organization of American States called for a cease fire and withdrawal of El Salvador’s forces in Honduras. The cease fire was arranged on July 18, but didn’t take full effect until July 20. 900 Salvadoran troops and civilians were killed and 100 Honduran combat troops and 2,000 Honduran civilians were killed during the 100 Hour War.
Frida Kahlo was born on July 6, 1907 in Coyoacan, Mexico. She is one of the most famous Mexican artists and commands the most highest selling prices of any Latin American artists. Frida is most famous from her self portraits and real life experiences. She was known as a surrealist as an artist. With hardships from a near fatal accident to a rocky marriage with Diego Rivera to 3 miscarriages, Frida had real emotions that she portrayed in her paintings. She died on July 13, 1954 from illnesses but her paintings didn’t become famous until the 1980s when Neomexicanismo became popular.