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Cinco de Mayo
May 5th


Happy Cinco de Mayo

Many claim that the 5th of May or Cinco de Mayo, should be Mexican Independence Day and celebrated by Americans as well. Here is some background.

Mexico declared its independence from Spain on September 15, 1810. It took 11 years before the first Spanish soldiers were told and forced to leave Mexico.

A more dramatic event took place on the morning of May 5, 1862. Or, Cinco de Mayo. On that day, 4,000 Mexican soldiers defeated French and traitor Mexican army of 8,000 at Puebla, Mexico, 100 miles east of Mexico City.

The French had landed in Mexico (along with Spanish and English troops) five months earlier on the pretext of collecting Mexican debts from the newly elected government of democratic President (and Indian) Benito Juarez. The English and Spanish quickly made deals and left. The French, however, had different ideas.

Under Emperor Napoleon III, who detested the United States, the French came to stay. They brought a Hapsburg prince with them to rule the new Mexican empire. His name was Maximilian; his wife, Carolota.

Napoleon's French Army had not been defeated in 50 years, and it invaded Mexico with the finest modern equipment and with a newly reconstituted Foreign Legion. The French were not afraid of anyone, especially since the United States was embroiled in its own Civil War.

The French Army left the port of Vera Cruz to attack Mexico City to the west, as the French assumed that the Mexicans would give up should their capital fall to the enemy -- as European countries traditionally did.

Under the command of Texas-born General Zaragosa, (and the cavalry under the command of Colonel Porfirio Diaz, later to be Mexico's president and dictator), the Mexicans awaited. Brightly dressed French Dragoons led the enemy columns. The Mexican Army was less stylish.

girl celebrates Cinco de Mayo with Mexican flagGeneral Zaragosa ordered Colonel Diaz to take his cavalry, the best in the world, out to the French flanks. In response, the French made a big mistake. They sent their cavalry off to chase Diaz and his men, who proceeded to butcher them.

The remaining French infantrymen charged the Mexican defenders through sloppy mud from a thunderstorm and through hundreds of head of stampeding cattle stirred up by Indians armed only with machetes.

When the battle was over, many French were killed or wounded and their cavalry was being chased by Diaz' superb horsemen miles away. The Mexicans had won a great victory that kept Napoleon III from supplying the confederate rebels in the US Civil War. The Union Army defeated the Confederates at Gettysburg just 14 months after the battle of Puebla, essentially ending the Civil War.

Union forces were then rushed to the Texas/Mexican border under General Phil Sheridan, who made sure that the Mexicans got all the weapons and ammunition they needed to expel the French.

American soldiers were discharged with their uniforms and rifles if they promised to join the Mexican Army to fight the French. The American Legion of Honor marched in the Victory Parade in Mexico, City.

In gratitude, thousands of Mexicans crossed the border after Pearl Harbor to join the U.S. Armed Forces. As recently as the Persian Gulf War, Mexicans flooded American consulates with phone calls, trying to join up and fight another war for America.

To Mexicans, Cinco de Mayo is a party -- a party that celebrates freedom and liberty. VIVA! el CINCO DE MAYO!!





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Margarita & Guacamole Recipes for Cinco de Mayo

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