What is Cinco de Mayo? You may be surprised! - WSPA.com

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>>

  • FL vehicle registration renewal fees drop

    FL vehicle registration renewal fees drop

    Monday, September 1 2014 11:48 AM EDT2014-09-01 15:48:49 GMT
    That little gift you get from the state on your birthday every year, to renew your car tag, is going to be cheaper starting Monday.  The cut will save drivers about $13 to $25 depending on the size of their vehicle.
    That little gift you get from the state on your birthday every year, to renew your car tag, is going to be cheaper starting Monday.  The cut will save drivers about $13 to $25 depending on the size of their vehicle.
  • Mold takes over St. Pete condo, creeps into neighbors' homes

    Mold takes over St. Pete condo, creeps into neighbors' homes

    Friday, August 29 2014 5:48 PM EDT2014-08-29 21:48:06 GMT
    Josephine Ramos is literally sick about the toxic black mold growing in the St. Petersburg condominium beside hers. She's been feeling ill for months with headaches and breathing problems. Recently, she had peak inside the condo next doors and couldn't believe her eyes.
    Josephine Ramos is literally sick about the toxic black mold growing in the St. Petersburg condominium beside hers. She's been feeling ill for months with headaches and breathing problems. Recently, she had peak inside the condo next doors and couldn't believe her eyes.
  • Lakeland neighborhood has continuing water problems, asks 8OYS for help

    Lakeland neighborhood has continuing water problems, asks 8OYS for help

    Friday, August 29 2014 5:03 PM EDT2014-08-29 21:03:34 GMT
    Some Lakeland residents are tired of wondering whether they'll have water at home. Over the past month, they tell 8 On Your Side that they've lost water with no warning at least five times. And what's worse, the water stays off for up to eight hours at a time
    Some Lakeland residents are tired of wondering whether they'll have water at home. Over the past month, they tell 8 On Your Side that they've lost water with no warning at least five times. And what's worse, the water stays off for up to eight hours at a time
  • NewsMore>>

  • Gov. Scott begins campaign bus tour in Tampa Bay area

    Gov. Scott begins campaign bus tour in Tampa Bay area

    Monday, September 1 2014 4:55 PM EDT2014-09-01 20:55:10 GMT
    Gov. Rick Scott kicked off a statewide bus tour Monday, focusing on tax cuts and bashing his the record of his opponent - and predecessor."We've been cleaning up Charlie Crist's mess for three years," Scott said.Calling Crist a "slick politician and a smooth talker,"
    Gov. Rick Scott kicked off a statewide bus tour Monday, focusing on tax cuts and bashing his the record of his opponent - and predecessor."We've been cleaning up Charlie Crist's mess for three years," Scott said.Calling Crist a "slick politician and a smooth talker,"
  • St. Petersburg plane pulled from Tampa Bay after Sunday crash

    St. Petersburg plane pulled from Tampa Bay after Sunday crash

    Monday, September 1 2014 3:22 PM EDT2014-09-01 19:22:09 GMT
    The plane that crashed in Tampa Bay, off the coast of St. Petersburg Sunday,has been recovered.A recovery team started work early this morning. It took hours to bring the plane up from about 25 feet under water. The company that owns the plane, Aerial Banner, Inc., sent company representatives to St. Petersburg.
    The plane that crashed in Tampa Bay, off the coast of St. Petersburg Sunday,has been recovered.A recovery team started work early this morning. It took hours to bring the plane up from about 25 feet under water. The company that owns the plane, Aerial Banner, Inc., sent company representatives to St. Petersburg.
  • Bubba 'The Love Sponge' to announce new Tampa gig

    Bubba 'The Love Sponge' to announce new Tampa gig

    Monday, September 1 2014 3:09 PM EDT2014-09-01 19:09:07 GMT
    File photo of Bubba the Love Sponge ClemFile photo of Bubba the Love Sponge Clem
    Bubba "The Love Sponge" announced on his Twitter page Monday that he will soon have a new Tampa home.
    Bubba "The Love Sponge" announced on his Twitter page Monday that he will soon have a new Tampa home.
  • Top StoriesTop StoriesMore>>

  • Woman Charged With DUI After 2 Children Die In Boating Accident

    Woman Charged With DUI After 2 Children Die In Boating Accident

    Monday, September 1 2014 2:32 PM EDT2014-09-01 18:32:42 GMT
    Dawn Thompson, 53, of EasleyDawn Thompson, 53, of Easley
    Dawn Thompson, 53, of Easley is charged with two counts of felony DUI  after a five-month old baby and a nine-year old child died after a boat capsized on Lake Hartwell Sunday in the Townville area.

    Dawn Thompson, 53, of Easley is charged with two counts of felony DUI  after a five-month old baby and a nine-year old child died after a boat capsized on Lake Hartwell Sunday in the Townville area.
  • 2 Women, 4 Kids Hurt In Lake Keowee Jet Ski Wreck

    2 Women, 4 Kids Hurt In Lake Keowee Jet Ski Wreck

    Monday, September 1 2014 1:59 PM EDT2014-09-01 17:59:29 GMT
    Authorities say two jet skis collided on Lake Keowee, injuring the two drivers and four children who were riding along.
    Authorities say two jet skis collided on Lake Keowee, injuring the two drivers and four children who were riding along.
  • Spartanburg Co. Deputies Looking For Home Detention Escapee

    Spartanburg Co. Deputies Looking For Home Detention Escapee

    Monday, September 1 2014 12:49 PM EDT2014-09-01 16:49:29 GMT
    Mugshot: Lonnell Norvell Chamblee (Spartanburg Co. Sheriff's Office)Mugshot: Lonnell Norvell Chamblee (Spartanburg Co. Sheriff's Office)
    Spartanburg County Sheriff's deputies are looking for a man who escaped from home detention. According to an arrest warrant issued by the sheriff's office, 21-year-old Lonnell Norvell Chamblee, of Spartanburg, is wanted for escape after he cut off his ankle monitoring bracelet and escaped from the home detention program.
    Spartanburg County Sheriff's deputies are looking for a man who escaped from home detention. According to an arrest warrant issued by the sheriff's office, 21-year-old Lonnell Norvell Chamblee, of Spartanburg, is wanted for escape after he cut off his ankle monitoring bracelet and escaped from the home detention program.
Powered by WorldNow

250 International Dr.
Spartanburg, S.C. 29303

Telephone: 864.576.7777
Fax: 864.587.5430
Email: webmaster@wspa.com

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