Chief Touch The Clouds of the Sioux


Chief Touch The Clouds in 1877

     Chief Touch The Clouds was the leader of the Minneconjou, a band of the Sioux Indians. He lead the band from 1875 until his death in 1905. His reign lasted 30 years.
     Touch The Clouds was the youngest son of the powerful Chief Lone Horn, who lead the Minneconjou. He was born sometime between 1837 and 1839. In 1875, Lone Horn died. Touch The Cloud’s brother, Spotted Elk, became leader of the Minneconjou. Touch The Cloud was given leadership of a war society, and he quickly proved his ability to fight competently and bravely in battle. Over time, he became an influential leader of the Minneconjou.
     In 1876, the Minneconjou split. Touch The Clouds became the leader of his own band of Minneconjou and fled the Cheyenne River Agency due to the threat of the United States Army confiscating the Indians’ horses and weapons. Touch The Clouds and his band joined the hostiles, or Indians that opposed the United States Army and government. Eventually, the hostiles disbanded and Touch The Clouds and his band settled on the Little Missouri River. They left in early 1877 for the Spotted Tail Agency, where Touch The Clouds joined the Indian Scouts. In 1878, Touch The Clouds and his band of Minneconjou returned to the Cheyenne River Agency, where he remained for the rest of his life.
     In 1890, Touch The Clouds’s brother, Spotted Elk, died in the Wounded Knee Massacre. 150 other Minneconjou men, women and children were also killed in this scuffle. Touch The Clouds was made the headman of the Minneconjou, as his brother had no children. His brother’s death enraged Touch The Clouds, and for the rest of his life he advocated the rights of the Sioux people. He travelled to towns near the Cheyenne River Agency and gave speeches about the rights Indians had to a good education and freedom.
     Touch The Clouds died on September 5, 1905. His age at the time of his death is around 66 or 68 years old. Today, Touch The Clouds is remembered for his military prowess, his courage, and his competence as a negotiator and a diplomat.
Interesting Fact #1: Touch The Clouds gets his name from his height and strength. Some claim that he was seven feet tall, but he was probably around six foot five inches. He weighed 280 pounds.
Interesting Fact #2: Touch The Clouds was Crazy Horse’s first cousin. He was with Crazy Horse at the time of his death in 1877.
Interesting Fact #3: Touch The Clouds was married twice and had several children. His son Amos Charging First became headman of the Minneconjou after his death.

Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico

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19th-Century Painting of Maximilian I, Emperor of Mexico

      Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico reigned from April 10, 1864 – June 19, 1867. His rule laste 3 years and 21 days.

     Maximilian was not a Mexican, but instead an Austrian. He was born in Vienna, Austria on July 6, 1832. His mother was Sophie of Bavaria, and his father was Archduke Franz Karl of Austria. As a child, he was sickly and was often ill. However, he was known for his curious nature, cleverness, and sharp mind. His older brother, Franz Joseph, became Emperor of Austria-Hungary in 1848, making Maximilian the Archduke of Austria. In 1853, Maximilian married Charlotte of Belgium.

     Mexico was recovering from The War of The Reform. The country had taken loans from Britain, Spain and France to finance the civil war, and was in the process of paying them back when in 1861 President Benito Juarez suspended the payments. His goal was to improve the infrastructure of Mexico before paying off the loans. Napoleon III of France was angered by this, and asked Maximilian if he wanted to rule Mexico. Maximilian said no. In 1864, Napoleon joined forces with Britain and Spain to ship soldiers to Mexico. Eventually, Mexico City was captured and the country was under French “control”. Napoleon approached Maximilian again, asking him the same question, but this time telling him that Mexico was stable and the Mexicans welcomed him into their country. This was, however, a lie. Mexico was still extremely unstable and the Mexican citizens were revolted by the idea of having a European rule their country.

     The naive Maximilian accepted Napoleon’s offer. He arrived in Mexico in 1864. He was crowned at the Catedral Metropolitana in Mexico City, along with his wife Charlotte. The conservatives and clergy of Mexico supported Maximilian, but they had little power. Maximilian was aghast when he saw the disparity between the rich and the poor in Mexico. Because of this, he supported the social reforms of Benito Juarez. This angered the conservatives, and the liberals of Mexico were still not pleased. Seeing this increasingly volatile situation, Charlotte travelled to France, Austria, and Rome to ask for aid. She was refused. Maximilian soon realized that he had no allies and his subjects were becoming increasingly disloyal and rebellious. Charlotte fled to Europe, but Maximilian stayed in Mexico, determined to rule the country he had been given.

     France had long ago withdrawn their forces from Mexico. Now, the liberals of Mexico, led by Benito Juarez, began to take up arms and rebel against Maximilian. In early 1867, Mexico City fell to Juarez’s liberals. Maximilian retreated, but was eventually captured. When it was announced he was going to be executed, dozens of European monarchs appealed to Juarez to spare Maximilian’s life. Juarez, however, would not turn the other cheak. On June 19, 1867, Maximilian was shot to death.

Interesting Fact #1: Avenida Reforma, an important street in Mexico City, was ordered built by Maximilian.

Interesting Fact #2: Maximilian’s older brother, Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary, reigned for 67 years, longer than any other Austrian monarch, and the third longest reign in the history of Europe.

Interesting Fact #3: Maximilian had multiple affairs during his lifetime. His first affair was with a German countess, but she was deemed unworthy of him by his family. His most well-known affair was with a Portuguese noblewoman, Maria Amalia of Braganza. She died before they could be engaged.

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