The Velacruz Disaster by Steve Payne
says: what if the Confederacy accidentally fired on British ships during
the American Civil War? Please note that the opinions expressed in this post
do not necessarily reflect the views of the author(s).
On July 17th 1861,
President Benito Juárez's ill-timed decision to suspend interest
payments to Mexico's major creditors triggered a military intevention from
Spain, France and Great Britain that indirectly caused the escalation of the
American Civil War into a six power regional conflict lasting over a decade.
Ironically, the burning issue of race was also connected to the so-called
Maximillian Affair, because Juárez was a Zapotec Amerindian who served
five terms as president, thus becoming the first full-blooded indigenous
national ever to lead a country in the Western Hemisphere.
The leader of the opposition to Juárez was Napoleon III who built an
alliance between France, Spanish and British, uniting efforts to receive
payments from Mexico at the Treaty of London on 31 October.
In early January 1862, allied fleet and troops began to arrive at Mexico's
main Gulf port, Veracruz. After that the situation deteriorated very
quickly. Misidentifying her as a Union vessel, the Confederate States Navy
accidentally fired on a British warship en route to Velacruz. And the
British Government also discovered that Napoleon III's plan was rather
bolder than recovering payment, it was nothing less than the French
conquest of Mexico.
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