With Cinco de Mayo coming up, you might be making plans to celebrate with margaritas and a night out at your favorite Mexican restaurant. However, if you don’t know the origin of this holiday, you’re missing out on some enriching history and a chance to honor a major moment in Mexico’s history.
Cinco de Mayo marks Mexico’s victory over France in the Battle of Puebla. The battle was won in 1862 during the Franco-Mexican War, which began in 1861. A lawyer named Benito Juárez had just become president that same year. The country was already in debt and struggling to get out of financial strife, and Juárez had no choice but to default on payments to certain European governments.
While Juárez was able to negotiate with Britain and Spain, France was not so forgiving. Napoleon III, the leader of France at that time, saw Mexico’s financial troubles as a chance to take over part of the Mexican territory, and decided to have his troops attack Veracruz.
On May 5, 1862, 6,000 French troops made their way to attack Puebla. Juárez prepared by gathering 2,000 men, including many indigenous Mexicans, to defend the city. The Battle of Puebla began at daybreak and went until the evening, and despite their lower numbers and low supplies, the Mexican army lost less than 100 soldiers while 500 of the French soldiers fell. The French retreated and the battle was won, which helped to lift spirits and the resistance that eventually won the war in 1867.
Stop by Tipton Hyundai if you’re in need of a new vehicle to transport you to and from your Cinco de Mayo festivities.