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Mexican Emperors

Mexico has had several Emperors.

Aztec Emperors

The Aztecs had emperors, who were the supreme rulers of their civilization. They had all the power in the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan. Each Aztec Emperor was chosen within the royal lineage by a council composed of a priest, warriors and nobles. Their reigns were passed on from brother to brother before passing on to the next generation.

The last Aztec king (tlatoani’ which means orator)to be active in forming an Aztec Empire was Ahuizotl.

Ahuitzotl  (1486 – 1502) Ahuizotl was an aggressive military leader. Under his command the Aztec empire doubled in size and expanded into Guatemala. During his reign the main temple of Tenochtitlan was rebuilt and completed. He was the grandson of Montezuma and brother of Axayácatl and Tizoc.

Moctezuma II  (1502 – 1520) Moctezuma II was raised to be an Aztec Emperor from birth. He was a powerful and knowledgeable emperor, and a capable but demanding leader. He transformed Tenochtitlan into an imposing cultural metropolis. .  It is believed that Tenochtitlan was one of the largest cities in the world.

Moctezuma II welcomed the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés. He believed in the legend of god-king, Quetzalcoatl, and thought that he had returned to fulfill the prophesy and reclaim his kingdom. The Spaniards ordered a great massacre and the Aztecs resisted. In the midst of a bloddy battle, Moctezuma II was  killed by  Cortés and his men, in 1520. Moctezuma II was son of Axayácatl, great-grandson of Moctezuma I.

Cuitláhuac  (1520) Cuitláhuac was initially captured by the Spaniards. He was released and led his people to expel the Spaniards on June 30. Unfortunately, smallpox claimed the city, as it was a disease brought by the Spaniards. About 40 percent of the population died, and Cuitláhuac also died.  He only ruled for four months. He was Montezuma’s nephew.

Cuauhtémoc  (1520-1524) Cuauhtémoc  was the last of the Aztec emperors and considered the bravest of all. He fought bravely against the Spaniards in defense of Tenochtitlan. He was tortured and hanged by the Spaniards and died in 1524. Cuauhtémoc was the son of Ahuitzáotl, and nephew of Moctezuma and Cuitláhuac.

The Aztec Empire ended on August 13,1521. Its people were banished to the outside areas. Since then new civilizations have been built in most of the city.

After its independence from Spain, in the 1800’s, there was a short transitional period and Mexico was declared an independent empire. But there was turmoil in the new government among those in power.

Agustín de Iturbide was first proclaimed president of the Regency in 1821.

Agustín de Iturbide was proclaimed emperor of Mexico in May 1822.

Agustín de Iturbide (1821–23) In May 1822, Agustín de Iturbide was proclaimed emperor of Mexico, by military groups. Known as Agustín I, he was crowned in a pompous ceremony in July 1822. This was not accepted by both republicans and liberals and conflict began between the military emperor and the civilian congress. In October 1822, the emperor dismissed congress and ruled through an appointed group. The act was condemned by many and in December 1822, he was forced to reconvene congress. He then had to abdicate, so he escaped to Europe, as an exile, in 1823. When he returned to Mexico, he was apprehended four days later, arrested, and executed in July 1824.

Mexico was a very unstable nation in the 1850’s. In the aftermath of wars Mexico was in debt and there were conflicts between conservatives and liberals. 

In 1862, France invaded Mexico to collect payment of debts. By 1863, French forces were in command of Mexico. As a scheme between conservatives in Mexico who wanted to overthrow the President of Mexico, and Napoleon III of France, who wanted to legitimize French intervention and further imperialism, Maximilian was invited to rule a pro-French monarchy.

Maximilian of Habsburg (1863-1864) Maximilian accepted the offer of Mexican Emperor. He falsely believed that the Mexican people had voted for him. He received the support of the Catholic and conservative elite. However, contrary to their interests, he began to carry out a series of liberal policies andto promote freedom of worship.

Maximilian was unable to unite Mexico and lost the support of both the Mexican elite and Napoleon III.  France withdrew its forces ands he was left to his fate. By 1866, his armies were in disarray and he had no allies. A civil war broke out. Maximilian stuck it out, due to a genuine desire to be a good ruler of his new nation. Maximilian, together with his generals, who never left him, were sentenced to death.

This Mexican Empire fell in 1867.  


Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Maximilian.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 8 Feb. 2019.


Author: AllGoodsOnline