este méxico triste, ciudad de méxico, (2021)
A visual photography series surveying Chapultepec Castle, a site of much of Mexico’s turbulent history and colonization. The castle was built for leisure on a hill in the forest of Chapultepec during the colonial era by the Spanish viceroyalty occupiers of Mexico. The hill was a sacred site for the Aztecs.
Construction began in 1785 during the government of the Viceroy of “New Spain”, Bernardo de Gálvez. It was abandoned after the Mexican War of Independence and converted into a military academy for cadets in 1833 during the first Mexican republic.
In 1847, the “Niños Héroes”, six young cadets, died defending the castle during the invasion of United States military forces at the Battle of Chapultepec during the Mexican-American War. Mexico lost half its territory to the United States invaders as a result of the war. These young men are honored with a large mural on the ceiling above the main entrance to the castle.
It is the only castle in North America that actually served as a residence for royalty. During the French imperialist intervention in Mexico, which established a return to monarchy, Austrian Archduke Maximilian I and his wife Carlota were instated as “Emperor” and “Empress” of Mexico and lived in the castle from 1864 until Maximilian was executed in 1867 and replaced by the Restored Republic under the rule of President Benito Juarez.
The castle underwent several structural changes during the dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz (1876-1911) and was a symbol of the decadence and corruption of the ruling class during the Porfiriato. When Díaz was overthrown at the outbreak of the Mexican Revolution, the castle remained the presidential residence until 1939 when President Lázaro Cárdenas decreed a law establishing Chapultepec Castle as the National Museum of History.