In 1861, a man was elected the president of Mexico, Benito Juarez, a lawyer and member of the indigenous Zapotec Tribe. 1861 was a difficult time to be president in Mexico. Mexico was having major financial problems and had to receive aid from European Governments. Because of this, Mexico was soon in debt. To collect on this debt, France, Britain, and Spain sent forces to Veracruz, Mexico. There, they demanded payment. Britain and Spain ended up withdrawing their forces after negotiating a settlement with Mexico. However, France took this as an opportunity to carve an empire out of Mexican territory. In late 1861, France sent a well-armed fleet to Veracruz, this forced Juarez and his military into retreat.
The French were certain they would win the battle. Six thousand troops under the command of General Charles Latrille de Lorencez were sent to attack Puebla de Los Angeles. In response, Juarez sent out two thousand indigenous Mexicans to Puebla. The Mexican army was outnumbered and did not have the necessary artillery. The battle lasted a day and ended in the French retreating after losing over five hundred men, the Mexican army lost less than one hundred men.
While this war was not a major strategic win, it represented a great victory for Mexico and strengthened the resistance movement. Now, the celebration of Cinco De Mayo is primarily celebrated in Puebla. Some celebrations include: military parades, festive events, and recreations of the battle of Puebla. In the United States, Cinco De Mayo is celebrated with parades, parties, mariachi music, dances and food. Some common foods eaten on Cinco De Mayo are tacos, enchiladas, salsa, and guacamole!
A common misconception about Cinco De Mayo is the actual history behind it. Many people outside of Mexico believe it is the date that marks the independence of Mexico. However, Mexico’s independence was declared fifty years before the Battle of Puebla. Mexico’s independence Day is actually celebrated on September 16th.
Here at Everyone Loves Buttons we hope you have a fun and safe Cinco De Mayo!