A Cause to Celebrate
Feliz dia del Cinco de Mayo! Viva Mexico! Wait?! Do you know why it’s such a happy occasion for us, the Americanos? Well, con mucha pena, as embarrassing as it is, I must confess that I just barely know a few of the details. Con mucho gusto, I pass along my few history findings on Cinco de Mayo .
A Battle in Puebla that affected us
The Battle of Puebla is observed primarily in one city of Mexico and that’s in Puebla, where the battle took place. Here in the United States, communities with large Mexican American populations celebrate with an almost Grito zest. However, it is not about Mexico’s independence, but rather, Mexico's perseverance. The United States was indirectly affected because of Mexico's small triumph.
After it’s long and difficult fight for independence, Mexico struggled so much that it became financially bankrupt. Mexico's presidente; Benito Juarez found a temporary solution. He stopped payments on their foreign debts . This did not sit well with European powers, three countries agreed to invade Mexico. An intimidating plan to use military force and bully Mexicans back into making their regular payments. France led the campaign, since, unbeknownst to the other countries, it had greater aspirations through this attack. Napoleon intended to establish a stronghold in North America through Mexico!
Esperate! it gets more intense.
Immediately when all the facts were out, the other countries left France to fight alone, even so, the French army was a force to be reckoned with.
Napoleon Connects with the Southern States
Napoleon had a close connection with our Southern States during the Civil War. Yes, he supplied them with weapons in exchange for cotton which France's economy heavily relied on. France was feeling the weight of the Union blockade, cotton prices skyrocketed and textile mills slowed production. Napoleon felt needed to keep his hands in the masa and keep the Confederacy supplied . Imaginate! He was busy trying to stabilize his economy and conquer the world while Abraham Lincoln was trying to bring about Emancipation and reunite our divided nation.
The Battle in Puebla aids the Civil War Cause
Yendo al grano. The bottom line is that the battle in Puebla was a classic underdog victory story. The French were a superior military force, yet the Mexicans, with their humble state of enlisted and volunteer army, prepared to fight to the death. French forces were well trained and armed, they outnumbered Mexican troops, as they confidently marched into battle el Cinco de Mayo en 1862. The battle lasted from sunrise until sundown. When evening came and the French General realized that his big powerful troops were losing the battle, he completely backed out and retreated! This victory gave Mexico a surge of confidence as it forged on. The loss prevented Napoleon from helping the Confederacy with relief supplies or weapons and the Union army was able to regroup and gain strength.
Established Mexican Americans that lived in free states, wanted to remain free, they recognized the value of this victory as the Civil war forged on and Emancipation was declared..
Sin duda! It was a cause for celebration.
Immediately! Mexican Americans gathered to celebrate Mexicos unexpected reprieve and the help it brought to the Union.
While it is true that through the years, the battle in Puebla, or it’s historic significance, has gotten buried and almost forgotten, I use this platform to salute that great day and its significance. It is a wonderful memorial to brave men who stood up for freedom despite the odds.
Mexican Culture & Traditions
Cinco de Mayo is a celebration also of Mexican culture, traditions such as Mariachis, Folkloric dance and delicious Mexican food.
However you layout your menu for the day's festivities, make sure to include plenty of salsa and guacamole and some cheesy queso for all the unavoidable tortilla chips. After that, feasts range from tacos and chalupas to steaks on the grill. Of course, we cannot enter or leave a Cinco de Mayo feast without having a tamal, verdad? Y acuerdate:
“You can’t build character and courage by taking away people's initiative and independence”-Abraham Lincoln