5 Facts about Cinco de Mayo

5 Facts about 5 de Mayo

By Claudia Prieto. 

1. Is not our Independence Day! On the 5 th of May, Mexicans
commemorate the victory of the Mexican Army over their
French counterpart at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. At the time,
the French army was considered one of the best of the world,
while the Mexican army was small and inexperienced.
Therefore, winning this five-hour battle was almost miraculous!

2. General Ignacio Zaragoza was the leader of the Mexican army,
and was born in a small village in Texas, that at the time was
part of Mexico. This explains why the celebrations of the 5 th of
May are more common in Texas, than in Mexico. So, if you are
looking to party on that day, you better go to a city or town in
the United States, that has a large Chicano (Mexican American)
community. If you go to Mexico on the day, you will not find
margaritas, you will just find a military parade. Or if you are
lucky, you might get an invitation to the White House party!

3. Why were they fighting? The Mexican government of the time
owed France 80 million pesos, and France wanted their
money back. Mexico had relied in foreign debt since their
independence, by the time Benito Juarez took power, the
foreign debt was equal to 70% of the national budget.

4. This was not the first time Mexico was invaded by France. In
1839, France invaded Mexico because of the negative of the
Mexican government to compensate a French baker who
claimed that in 1832, Mexican soldiers had eaten his cakes
without paying. This is now known as the “Guerra de los
Pasteles” (the cake war).

5. So, Mexico won the battle, but did we win the war? Ehmm…
well no, things got ugly quickly, and we even ended up being
part of the French Empire for some time…

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