7. The First French Intervention in Mexico, 1838-1839
Also known as the Pastry War, and claimed to have been fought over the looting of a bakery, the causes of the war were considerably more complex. The young Mexican Republic suffered growing pains in the years following independence from Spain. Among them was extensive civil disorder, caused by food shortages, the lack of ready money, and political differences among monarchists and republicans. Riots and minor insurgencies occurred throughout the country. A large contingent of French immigrants could be found in Mexico. French trade with Mexico was extensive, making the French Mexico’s third-largest trading partner, behind the United States and Great Britain. But no official treaty between Mexico and France had then been signed, making the complaints of French citizens in Mexico outside the responsibility of the Mexican government when matters of compensation were concerned.
During the outbreaks of civil disorder, many shops and businesses were looted or ransacked. Those owned by Mexicans or Americans sought compensation from the Mexican government, as dictated by the treaties between the two nations. Frenchmen who saw their businesses damaged needed to instead address the government in Paris. The French government was in receipt of many such complaints in the late 1820s and early 1830s. In 1828 rioting in the Parian Market in Mexico City was directed at French-owned shops and stalls; all were looted. Appeals to the Mexican government for compensation fell on deaf ears. Mexico and France did not establish full diplomatic relations until 1830, after the fall of Charles X in France following the July Revolution. Louis-Philippe replaced him as King of the French, and the Bourbons ceased to be the Royal Family of France.