Quantcast

What is Cinco de Mayo? You may be surprised! - Greenville, NC | News | Weather | Sports - WNCT.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.

  • NewsMore>>

  • Demand for police body cameras spike after Ferguson shooting

    Demand for police body cameras spike after Ferguson shooting

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 10:30 PM EDT2014-08-20 02:30:08 GMT
    Body cameras are used by several law enforcement agencies in Florida but not many in the Bay Area. Sarasota Police announced this week they will begin using body cameras on police officers with a pilot program.
    Body cameras are used by several law enforcement agencies in Florida but not many in the Bay Area. Sarasota Police announced this week they will begin using body cameras on police officers with a pilot program.
  • Florida trucker records crash, then helps

    Florida trucker records crash, then helps

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 10:12 PM EDT2014-08-20 02:12:27 GMT
    News Channel 8's Peter Bernard interviews trucker David Fredericksen via SkypeNews Channel 8's Peter Bernard interviews trucker David Fredericksen via Skype
    Dash cam video rolled as David Fredericksen and his co-driver witnessed a horrible crash outside Biloxi Mississippi. It happened last Monday, as they drove a load of orange juice in a large tanker truck. A grandmother driving her young granddaughter lost control and slammed into a semi, igniting the truck's fuel tanks.
    Dash cam video rolled as David Fredericksen and his co-driver witnessed a horrible crash outside Biloxi Mississippi. It happened last Monday, as they drove a load of orange juice in a large tanker truck. A grandmother driving her young granddaughter lost control and slammed into a semi, igniting the truck's fuel tanks.
  • Town N' Country grandmother fears intruder, shoots grandson by accident

    Town N' Country grandmother fears intruder, shoots grandson by accident

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 9:40 PM EDT2014-08-20 01:40:13 GMT
    Photo of Tyler Maddox courtesy of Facebook.Photo of Tyler Maddox courtesy of Facebook.
    Hillsborough County Sheriff's deputies were called to the scene of a shooting in Town N' Country just before 1:00 A.M. early Tuesday morning.The sheriff's office gives a chilling account of the events that led to the shooting.In the middle of the night, Linda Maddox, 63 heard a noise and grabbed a .22 caliber revolver she keeps by the bed.
    Hillsborough County Sheriff's deputies were called to the scene of a shooting in Town N' Country just before 1:00 A.M. early Tuesday morning.The sheriff's office gives a chilling account of the events that led to the shooting.In the middle of the night, Linda Maddox, 63 heard a noise and grabbed a .22 caliber revolver she keeps by the bed.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Cops shoot and kill man in incident near Ferguson

    Cops shoot and kill man in incident near Ferguson

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 4:33 PM EDT2014-08-19 20:33:45 GMT
    Two St. Louis city police officers shot and killed a man who came within several feet of them brandishing a knife on Tuesday in a confrontation several miles from the turbulent suburb of Ferguson, authorities said.
    Two St. Louis city police officers shot and killed a man who came within several feet of them brandishing a knife on Tuesday in a confrontation several miles from the turbulent suburb of Ferguson, authorities said.
  • Dog saves newborn kitten, now pals for life

    Dog saves newborn kitten, now pals for life

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 2:33 PM EDT2014-08-19 18:33:17 GMT
    Roscoe was an injured, newborn kitten covered in maggots and pinned underneath a log, when he was found by Opie the dog. Imgur photo by Lia Spilka  Roscoe was an injured, newborn kitten covered in maggots and pinned underneath a log, when he was found by Opie the dog. Imgur photo by Lia Spilka
    A newborn kitten whose life was in danger when he was discovered by a curious pooch out on a walk, is now best buddies with the dog who saved him.
    A newborn kitten whose life was in danger when he was discovered by a curious pooch out on a walk, is now best buddies with the dog who saved him.
  • Morgue attendant admits to having sex with up to 100 bodies

    Morgue attendant admits to having sex with up to 100 bodies

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 2:30 PM EDT2014-08-19 18:30:56 GMT
    A federal court has made a ruling in connection with a disturbing case involving an Ohio morgue attendant who had sex with female corpses at work.
    A federal court has made a ruling in connection with a disturbing case involving an Ohio morgue attendant who had sex with female corpses at work.
Powered by WorldNow

3221 South Evans Street
Greenville N.C. 27834

Telephone: 252.355.8500
Fax: 252.355.8568
Email: newsdesk@wnct.com

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