The popular holiday Cinco de Mayo is celebrated by Mexicans to honor a victory over a French army. However, May 5 is ignorantly celebrated by many Americans thinking today is Mexico’s independence day.
Mexico declared its independence from mother Spain on Sept. 15, 1810.
At the root of today’s celebration is the victory by a fledgling Mexican army that numbered 4,000 over a French army twice that size with the helpful hooves of many head of cattle released by Mexicans that trampled a number of the French.
The Battle of Puebla happened 100 miles east of Mexico City in Puebla, Mexico.
The French had been waiting for some months to collect debts from Benito Juarez, the newly elected president, when they decided that a complete takeover of Mexico was a better option.
The French army had not been defeated in decades — they were all but ready to bake some cookies and knock on the front door of the U.S. to introduce themselves to their neighbors. The U.S. wouldn’t have answered; it was in the middle of a civil war.
After their embarrassing defeat, the French were unable to continue supplying the Confederate Army — giving the Union ample time to rout the South.
To repay the favor, the Union Army supplied Mexico with arms and supplies enough to rid them completely of the French.The non-obligatory holiday that is celebrated regionally, if at all, in Mexico started off in recognition of the friendship that the U.S. and Mexico shared.
Now, with a wall being constructed between the two nations, May 5 has turned into an excuse to drink margaritas and Mexican beer in celebration of the independence that Mexico did not declare anywhere remotely near to the date. Have fun today, but remember a battle won by Mexico that contributed to the unification of the U.S. while you drink those margaritas and Mexican beer.