What is Cinco de Mayo? You may be surprised! - WRBL

What is Cinco de Mayo? You may be surprised!

Posted: Updated:
AP Photo:  People take part in a recreation of the Battle of Puebla during "Cinco de Mayo" celebrations in Mexico City. AP Photo: People take part in a recreation of the Battle of Puebla during "Cinco de Mayo" celebrations in Mexico City.
TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

History of Cinco de Mayo: Battle of Puebla

In 1861 the liberal Mexican Benito Juárez (1806-1872) became president of a country in financial ruin, and he was forced to default on his debts to European governments. In response, France, Britain and Spain sent naval forces to Veracruz to demand reimbursement. Britain and Spain negotiated with Mexico and withdrew, but France, ruled by Napoleon III (1808-1873), decided to use the opportunity to carve a dependent empire out of Mexican territory. Late in 1861, a well-armed French fleet stormed Veracruz, landing a large French force and driving President Juárez and his government into retreat.

Certain that success would come swiftly, 6,000 French troops under General Charles Latrille de Lorencez (1814-1892) set out to attack Puebla de Los Angeles, a small town in east-central Mexico. From his new headquarters in the north, Juárez rounded up a rag-tag force of 2,000 loyal men—many of them either indigenous Mexicans or of mixed ancestry—and sent them to Puebla. Led by Texas-born General Ignacio Zaragoza (1829-1862), the vastly outnumbered and poorly supplied Mexicans fortified the town and prepared for the French assault. On May 5, 1862, Lorencez drew his army, well provisioned and supported by heavy artillery, before the city of Puebla and led an assault from the north. The battle lasted from daybreak to early evening, and when the French finally retreated they had lost nearly 500 soldiers. Fewer than 100 Mexicans had been killed in the clash.

Although not a major strategic win in the overall war against the French, Zaragoza's success at Puebla represented a great symbolic victory for the Mexican government and bolstered the resistance movement. Six years later—thanks in part to military support and political pressure from the United States, which was finally in a position to aid its besieged neighbor after the end of the Civil War—France withdrew. The same year, Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian, who had been installed as emperor of Mexico by Napoleon in 1864, was captured and executed by Juárez's forces. Puebla de Los Angeles was renamed for General Zaragoza, who died of typhoid fever months after his historic triumph there.

 

Cinco de Mayo in Mexico

Within Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is primarily observed in the state of Puebla, where Zaragoza's unlikely triumph occurred, although other parts of the country also take part in the celebration. Traditions include military parades, recreations of the Battle of Puebla and other festive events. For many Mexicans, however, May 5 is a day like any other: It is not a federal holiday, so offices, banks and stores remain open.

 

Cinco de Mayo in the United States

In the United States, Cinco de Mayo is widely interpreted as a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage, particularly in areas with substantial Mexican-American populations. Chicano activists raised awareness of the holiday in the 1960s, in part because they identified with the victory of indigenous Mexicans over European invaders during the Battle of Puebla. Today, revelers mark the occasion with parades, parties, mariachi music, Mexican folk dancing and traditional foods such as tacos and mole poblano. Some of the largest festivals are held in Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston.

 

Confusion with Mexican Independence Day

Many people outside Mexico mistakenly believe that Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of Mexican independence, which was declared more than 50 years before the Battle of Puebla. That event is commemorated on September 16, the anniversary of the revolutionary priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla's famous "Grito de Dolores" ("Cry of Dolores"), a call to arms that amounted to a declaration of war against the Spanish colonial government in 1810.

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • TPD responds to story controversy surrounding police shooting

    TPD responds to story controversy surrounding police shooting

    Thursday, August 21 2014 12:48 PM EDT2014-08-21 16:48:17 GMT
    Jason TurkJason Turk
    An 8 On Your Side investigation into police shooting and the lack of Crisis Intervention Team training at the Tampa police department is not sitting well with T.P.D.Police spokesperson Laura McElroy sent an email to News Channel 8 management with the subject line labeled, "The Rest of the Story
    An 8 On Your Side investigation into police shooting and the lack of Crisis Intervention Team training at the Tampa police department is not sitting well with T.P.D.Police spokesperson Laura McElroy sent an email to News Channel 8 management with the subject line labeled, "The Rest of the Story
  • Verizon insists on seeing Town N' Country man's birth certificate for credit report error

    Verizon insists on seeing Town N' Country man's birth certificate for credit report error

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 5:26 PM EDT2014-08-20 21:26:13 GMT
    James Woolever was shocked to find a bad mark on his credit report. Especially since it was for an "outstanding balance" from a Verizon account opened in 1979. He knew that couldn't be right, because he was just 6 years old then.
    James Woolever was shocked to find a bad mark on his credit report. Especially since it was for an "outstanding balance" from a Verizon account opened in 1979. He knew that couldn't be right, because he was just 6 years old then.
  • Citrus Park property prompts code enforcement change

    Citrus Park property prompts code enforcement change

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 3:55 PM EDT2014-08-20 19:55:42 GMT
    Action today by Hillsborough county commissioners following an 8 On Your Side investigation.Commissioners voted unanimously to draw up an ordinance that will bring chronic code offenders before a judge in county court.For months now 8 On Your Side has documented the county's inability to deal with properties that are overgrown and piled with junk and pose possible health risks to neighbors.
    Action today by Hillsborough county commissioners following an 8 On Your Side investigation.Commissioners voted unanimously to draw up an ordinance that will bring chronic code offenders before a judge in county court.For months now 8 On Your Side has documented the county's inability to deal with properties that are overgrown and piled with junk and pose possible health risks to neighbors.
  • NewsMore>>

  • Target to extend store hours, hoping for younger shoppers

    Target to extend store hours, hoping for younger shoppers

    Thursday, August 21 2014 1:25 PM EDT2014-08-21 17:25:55 GMT
    Target to expand store hours, hoping to attract younger, late-night shoppersTarget to expand store hours, hoping to attract younger, late-night shoppers
    More than 900 Target stores across the country will be extending store hours in an effort to accommodate late night shoppers, including more than 70 Florida retail locations.Target says that's what customers want and may be a way to get younger shoppers back in the store.
    More than 900 Target stores across the country will be extending store hours in an effort to accommodate late night shoppers, including more than 70 Florida retail locations.Target says that's what customers want and may be a way to get younger shoppers back in the store.
  • TPD responds to story controversy surrounding police shooting

    TPD responds to story controversy surrounding police shooting

    Thursday, August 21 2014 12:48 PM EDT2014-08-21 16:48:17 GMT
    Jason TurkJason Turk
    An 8 On Your Side investigation into police shooting and the lack of Crisis Intervention Team training at the Tampa police department is not sitting well with T.P.D.Police spokesperson Laura McElroy sent an email to News Channel 8 management with the subject line labeled, "The Rest of the Story
    An 8 On Your Side investigation into police shooting and the lack of Crisis Intervention Team training at the Tampa police department is not sitting well with T.P.D.Police spokesperson Laura McElroy sent an email to News Channel 8 management with the subject line labeled, "The Rest of the Story
  • PSTA bus involved in head on crash in St. Pete

    PSTA bus involved in head on crash in St. Pete

    Thursday, August 21 2014 12:05 PM EDT2014-08-21 16:05:47 GMT
    A PSTA bus was involved in a head on crash. A PSTA bus was involved in a head on crash.
    94th Avenue North in St. Petersburg will be closed from Gandy Blvd to Dr. Dr. M.L. King Street for the next several hours after a head-on crash between a PSTA bus and an Acura.
    94th Avenue North in St. Petersburg will be closed from Gandy Blvd to Dr. Dr. M.L. King Street for the next several hours after a head-on crash between a PSTA bus and an Acura.
Powered by WorldNow

1350 13th Avenue
Columbus, GA 31901

Telephone: 706.323.3333
Fax: 706.327.6655
Email: news@wrbl.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.