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BLACK VETERAN WITH MAXIMILIAN'S TROOPS (MILITARY--CIVIL WAR MEXICO.) PHOTGRAPHY. African American Buffalo Soldier-Mercenary. Albumen photograph, 6-1/2x6-1/2 inches. Group of soldiers from Emperor Maximilian's army, among them an African-American cavalry soldier wearing his kepi with crossed swords. Matted and framed. [Mexico, circa 1867]
Maximilian I (1832-1867) was the second and last ruler of the Mexican Empire. After a distinguished career in the Austrian Navy, he was proclaimed Emperor of Mexico on 10 April 1864. This was accomplished with the backing of Napoleon III of France and a group of Mexican monarchists who sought to revive the Mexican monarchy. Many foreign governments, including that of the United States refused to recognize his government. This helped to ensure the success of Liberal forces led by Benito Juárez who captured and executed Maximilian in 1867. Many Americans fought as mercenaries for Maximilian. And more than a few African-American Buffalo Soldiers were known to have gone down into Mexico and even beyond. Since soldiering was the only profession some men had, and with no particular place to return to, some black veterans sought a salary and some adventure, south of the border. At the end of the Civil War, the U.S. Army was re-organized and the 9th and 10th Cavalries were formed. Thus, we date this photograph at between 1866 and 1867.
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