Cinco De Mayo

Published on May 5, 2017

In 1861 Mexico was a country in financial ruin following the Mexican American War of 1846-48 and the Reform War of 1858-61.  It was forced to default on debts to European governments.  France, ruled by Napoleon III, decided to use this opportunity to not only create a Mexican empire but also to intercede in the American Civil War on the side of the South.

Late in 1861, a French fleet stormed Veracruz, landing a large army and forcing a Mexican retreat to the town of Puebla where, on 5 May 1862, a ragtag army helped by farmers armed with pitch forks and machetes defeated the splendid French Army.

Although not a major strategic victory in Mexico’s war against the French, it did delay the conquest of Mexico until 1864.  By that time the U.S. Civil War was ending and Napoleon had missed his opportunity—because of the Mexican victory at Puebla.  In 1865, in accordance with the Monroe Doctrine, the U.S. began assisting Mexico to drive the French out of Mexico.  The Emperor Maximilian was executed in 1867.

Today, Cinco de Mayo is celebrated only in the town of Puebla and in  border towns where hordes of Anglos cross the border to get bashed and drop their money.

Since a few Puebla exiles began the celebration on Los Angeles’ Alvarado Street a few decades ago, it has become a widely celebrated U.S. holiday.

Is Cinco de Mayo properly a Mexican or an American holiday?

Have a margarita while pondering it.

Ray – Villa Resident

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