Tomorrow is May 5th, or as some of us prefer, Cinco de Mayo. There will be the annual celebration at
and a lot of people will have
a great time and eat some great food. Festival
But how many of us know what Cinco de Mayo is really about?
One local tourist site says that it ‘celebrates popular Mexican holiday’.
Well, not exactly. You see, Cinco de Mayo has taken on a lot more significance in the
than it ever has in Mexico,
where it is not a national holiday.
Cinco de Mayo celebrates the Battle of Puebla in 1862, when the Mexicans defeated the French. Napoleon III had sent an expeditionary force to protect French interests and collect some debts owed by the previous Mexican government.
Despite the victory in 1862, at the 2nd battle of
Puebla in 1863 the Mexicans were defeated
and the French marched on to Mexico City.
When they got there, they installed Hapsburg Archduke Maximilian as the Emperor
So what was the significance to the
States? Well, at this time the Civil War was
raging, and the federal government feared that the European powers would
intervene on behalf of the confederacy. The last thing they wanted was a French
foothold in Mexico
and a government on the southern border that would aid the rebels in their
The battle at
in 1862 set the French back enough to remove that fear, and so the temporary
victory benefited the US
Besides, we all love a good party, so get out and celebrate tomorrow!