The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 98, July 1994 - April, 1995

A "lovely land full of roses and thorns":
Emil Langberg and Mexico, 1835-1866
BY BOB CUNNINGHAM AND HARRY P. HEWITT*
N 1834 A CAREFREE YOUNG MAN LEFT HIS NATIVE DENMARK AND WENT
to Mexico-to him a place as outlandish as the moon. Stranded there,
in time he became Col. Don Emilio Langberg, and following the Mexi-
can War a military buffer against foes on the northern border. His ca-
reer in his adopted land, where he rose to general and military
commandant or military governor of three states, spanned over thirty
years. He maintained frequent correspondence with his family and
friends in Copenhagen, and his letters, campaign report, and other doc-
uments form a unique record of his own struggles, the Mexican view of
its northern frontier and internal strife, and a foreigner's perspective on
the 1835-1866 Mexican military and political pageant. An examination
of his life yields valuable insights into a pivotal period in Mexican histo-
ry.
Emil Langberg, a shadowy figure in the historical record, provides fas-
cinating and detailed information about the life of a career officer in
Mexico during some tumultuous times. He is not as well known as other
foreign officers such as Gen. Vicente Filisola, Gen. Adriano Woll, or per-
haps others, but none of them became the military commandant or mili-
tary governor of three states, as did Langberg. He was well educated,
intelligent, articulate, and talented. His story sheds significant light on
the little-recognized role of foreign officers in the Mexican army.
Edvard Emil Langberg was born on May 16, 181o, in Copenhagen,
the son of Knud Engelbreth Langberg and his wife Birgette. His siblings
were Ludvig, Carl, Johanne, Maria, and Sophie. The Langbergs were
* Bob Cunningham has published thirty-two articles in eight historical journals; two have won
the Philip A. Donelson Award conferred by Westerners International. He is a member of the
Western History Association, Western Writers of America, and two corrals of the Westerners. He
lives with his wife in Tucson. Harry P. Hewitt is professor of history at Midwestern State Universi-
ty in Wichita Falls, Texas. The authors would like to express their appreciation to the Hardin
Foundation for Wichita County and Midwestern State University for financial assistance, and to
Jean Cunningham, Dr. Alfred Stewart, Dr. David H. Miller, and Nelda Hewitt for their editorial
advice.

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 98, July 1994 - April, 1995. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101216/. Accessed July 24, 2014.