Happy 5th of May to all our US and Mexican readers (or as it’s called in Puebla, Mexico: “El Día de la Batalla de Puebla”).
Cinco de Mayo is more than a day when people go out to the streets and celebrate with parades, mariachi music, traditional Mexican food and festivals.
Cinco de Mayo is also known as the anniversary of the Battle of Puebla, and honors the victory of the Mexican militia over Napoleon III army in 1862.
Between the years 1821 till 1858 (since Mexico’s declaration of independence from Spain till the Mexican Civil War), Mexico’s national economy was in a struggle and accumulated heavy debts to several nations, including Spain, England and France, and they demanded their payment.
In 1861, Mexico’s president, Benito Juárez, declared that all foreign debt payments would be suspended for two years. In response, the European governments sent naval forces to Mexico to demand their payment. While Britain and Spain negotiated with Mexico and withdrew, France decided to use this opportunity to create an Empire in Mexico under Napoleon III, and invaded Mexico from Veracruz.
When the French army reached Puebla on May 5th, 1862, they encountered a small, poorly armed yet strong resistance of 4,500 militiamen, that stopped and defeated the French soldiers. The victory of Puebla was a glorious moment for the Mexican people and it helped to develop a needed sense of national unity.
Happy Cinco de Mayo everyone!!
Liron and the Ginger Team.