Why Cinco de Mayo is celebrated | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Why Cinco de Mayo is celebrated

Contrary to popular belief, Cinco de Mayo is not just an excuse to whoop it up and drink Corona.

And it’s not Mexican independence day either.

Cinco de Mayo commemorates the defeat of the French army by the Mexicans at The Battle of Puebla, May 5, 1862.

It’s primarily a regional holiday celebrated in the city and state of Puebla, and to a lesser extent, other parts of Mexico and U.S. cities with large Mexican populations.

The battle at Puebla happened at a violent, chaotic time in Mexico’s history. After gaining independence from Spain in 1810, internal political takeovers and the Mexican-American War and the Mexican Civil War of 1858, had completely ruined the Mexican economy and run it deep into dept. France, eager to expand its empire, took advantage of the situation by invading the Gulf coast of Mexico and marching toward Mexico City. Along the way, they met strong resistance at the Mexican forts of Loreto and Guadalupe where a small, poorly armed militia of about 4,500 Mexicans was able to defeat 6,500 fully outfitted French soldiers.

This victory – against all odds and despite the French eventually taking control of the country one year later – is the reason for the Cinco De Mayo celebration.

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