Cinco De Mayo Comes With Fascinating History


Cinco de Mayo is often confused with Mexico’s independence day. In reality Cinco de Mayo depicts the victory of the Battle of Puebla.

Mexican Independence Day is actually September 16th in commemoration of Father Hidalgo’s call for independence from Spain,” said social studies teacher Mr. Cannaday.

“Some also have the misconception that it celebrates the Mexican revolution in 1910, but that is also incorrect. Cinco De Mayo (May 5th) marks the Mexican army’s victory over France at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. It celebrates the strength and self-determination of Mexican People to triumph over invaders who were trying to take their land.”

It has nothing to do with Mexico’s independence. It was a war between France and Mexico that took place in Puebla on May 5, 1862.

“There are several reasons as to why the French invaded Mexico, but two reasons were to have a catholic stronghold and of course, resources,” added Murillo.

Some other reasons were that Mexico was having a financial crisis and weren’t able to pay some debts they had towards France.

France took that as an opportunity to try and take over to make their own empire with Ferninand Maximillian as the emperor.

With France having the help of wealthy people, they were able to get well over 5,000 soldiers and good weapons to invade Mexico.

Meanwhile, Mexico had about 2,000 troops and poor weaponry, they gave it their all to fight for the place they call home. 

You would think that France had it all under control, but when they started seeing they were losing more troops they realized that it would be harder than they thought.

With that thought in mind, France withdrew their army. 

That is how Mexico won the war. France, being too scared of the outcome, backed out and Mexico got to keep their land. 

Not much to it, no amazing strategic win. Just the love the people had for their country that they would do anything to keep it safe and away from intruders.

One thing did stay in Mexico though. It was Ferdinand Maximillian. He was put there by France’s ruler at the time, Napoleon III in 1864.

Not to worry though a few years later, 1867 to be exact, Mexico’s president, Benito Juarez and his officials executed Maximillian.

That’s it, that’s the history behind Cinco de Mayo.

So something’s to take note of. Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s Independence Day.

That day is September 16.

All of Mexico doesn’t really celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Only Puebla celebrates it. Instead of just partying and having delicious food, Puebla honors the military on May 5th.

They throw a parade and dress up as French and Mexican Soldiers to reenact the battle. The man who led the Mexican Army was Ignacio Zaragoza and was actually born in Texas. 

To commemorate him, they named a city in Puebla after him. Finally, it is believed that Napoleon III had different intentions as to why he wanted Puebla in the first place.

If the French were able to occupy the capital Mexico City, it could have become a French colony that had supply lines to the Confederacy,” said US history teacher Mr. Carter. “These supply lines would have provided cotton to the French in exchange of guns and artillery for the Confederacy (Roos, 2019).  I don’t know if the outcome of the Civil War would have been different, but the delay did prevent the Confederacy gaining any reinforcements prior to some major Union victories.”

Rumor has it that Napoleon had a plan to take over Puebla to convert it into a base and help out the Confederate Army during the civil war.

The Battle of Puebla was important in giving the French forces an unexpected defeat that slowed their process due to them having to regroup,” added Ms. Murillo.

“That event caused the French to take a year to return to Puebla. The delay that this caused was considered by many, enough time for President Abraham Lincoln to defeat the south in several victories securing the war for the Union. Why is it significant? Because the Confederacy was counting on being supplied and reinforced by the French who were hoping for a Confederacy victory in this Civil War, all while being officially neutral in this war.”

If Mexico hadn’t won, then the civil war could have had a different outcome. I guess you could say that in some way, Mexico helped Abraham Lincoln win the war.

What do you think? Did Napoleon have other plans than just wanting a little empire in Mexico?

The world may never know. Well, that’s the end of the history lesson. Remember that there’s always more to things, you just have to dig deeper.