Who would have been the first woman to govern Mexico?


A woman would have governed the country when her husband, who was the emperor of Mexico, went on trips. The empire of Maximilian and Carlota in Mexico lasted from 1864 to 1867

The presidential elections are just around the corner, as they will take place on June 2nd, in less than a month. One of the most notable aspects of the upcoming elections is that two of the three candidates are women, Claudia Sheinbaum and Xóchitl Gálvez, who are leading the polls.

This means that, barring anything extraordinary, one of them will become the President of Mexico.

This is said to possibly be the first time a woman will govern Mexico, however, there are records that in the past, a woman may have already governed the country.

Who was the woman who managed to govern Mexico?

María Carlota Amelia Augusta Victoria Clementina Leopoldina of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, better known as Carlota of Belgium, born in Brussels on June 7, 1840, was a notable figure in the history of Mexico, although she was of Belgian origin. Archduchess of Austria by marriage to Ferdinand Maximilian of Habsburg, Carlota played a prominent role in Mexican politics during the Second Mexican Empire. The couple arrived in this country, invited by a group of notable Mexicans and with the support of Napoleon III of France, landing in Veracruz on May 28, 1864, with the intention of establishing a new political order.

As empress and in the absence of Maximilian, Carlota assumed a leadership role, acting as regent on several occasions. During these periods, she demonstrated a remarkable decision-making capacity and involvement in the country’s politics. Her actions were characterized by promoting significant reforms in various areas. In the labor field, she abolished corporal punishment and established limits on working hours, measures that marked progress towards the protection of workers’ rights.

In the social sphere, she dedicated herself to supporting the most vulnerable sectors of the population, allocating resources to the creation of charitable works, daycares, asylums, and orphanages. On the other hand, in the educational field, her legacy includes the founding of a conservatory and an academy of arts, as well as the promulgation of the Public Instruction Law, guaranteeing compulsory and free primary education.

Nevertheless, the liberal policies adopted by Maximilian and Carlota alienated the support of Mexican conservatives. This was compounded by the withdrawal of the French army and the rejection they faced from the followers of the republican government of Benito Juárez.

Faced with this adverse scenario, Carlota decided to travel to Europe in search of support for the imperial cause. However, neither the European nobility nor Pope Pius IX responded favorably to her requests. During her stay in Rome, she began to show signs of mental imbalance, a situation that worsened after receiving news of Maximilian’s execution.

For the rest of her life, Carlota lived secluded, moving from Miramar Castle to Tervuren Castle, and finally to Bouchout Castle, where she died on January 19, 1927. Her story is a testimony to the turbulent social and political changes in Mexico during the second half of the 19th century, and her role as empress reflects both her attempts at reform and the complex dynamics of power at the time.

Source: Infobae