Batalla de Puebla anybody?

Sorry I wanted to post this yeaterday on the actual CINCO de MAYO.

So today is "Cinco de Mayo" a bit of a misconstrued holiday in our country, even by people of Latino descent. Most "gente" people do not seem to care about the origin and cultural significance of the celebration of Cinco de Mayo. They will simply see it as an opportunity to gather (now that businesses are allowed to be open at 100% ), at various locations around town get drunk on low priced Coronas or Margaritas. 

Somehow despite its commercialization, this holiday has meaning to me. Let's see if I can put a little bit of  perspective back in to it. I know that after reading this you will see some of its significance.

It's biggest misconception is that it commemorates Mexico's Independence Day.  
It’s a long story but from the time of the Mexican Independence in 1821 to the time of this
battle at Puebla the French Army of Napoleon III was considered the premier army in the world.  

His Army had enjoyed victories throughout Europe and Asia. Napoleon's army fully expected to march from the port city of Veracruz where they had landed to Mexico City, and take the country without encountering much resistance. 

The French on their second attempt were able to make their way to Mexico City, and took control of the capital. 

There they installed Emperor Maximilian of Hapsburg as the reigning monarch of México. He ruled México for about four years, until he was executed along with his wife Carlota in 1867 by a firing squad of troops that were loyal to President Benito Juárez, who had regained power.

The La Batalla de Puebla on May 5, 1862 or Cinco de Mayo could have been seen as insignificant because of the French's final victory, but it was one that instilled pride and patriotism that had never before been enjoyed. 

México you see had since its independence from Spain in 1821,had suffered many, many tragedies. Yet this deadly battle instilled a great sense of, "We can do anything together! Especially seeing that they were able to gain a victory in the face of great odds.

By the way just as a historical note: General Ignacio Zaragosa, the leader at La Batalla de Puebla, was born in Texas while it was still a part of MéxicoBut that holiday doesn't come to Mexico till September 16th. On September 16th, 1810, Padre Father Miguel Hidalgo issued a proclamation that came to be known as "El Grito de Dolores" that united the many different rebellions going on throughout Mexico against Spain into one cohesive struggle.  
México came to achieve its independence from Spanish rule in1821. Cinco de Mayo is actually a commemoration of one of its finest victories in their history by a rag tag army of Mexican troops in La Batalla de Puebla, more that fifty years later, on May 5, 1862.

México suffered numerous setbacks in its attempts to form a stable republic,
and endured several incursions into its sovereignty as an independent nation.  

Fifteen years into its independence, Texas seceded from México. The Texas revolt
was led by American-Mexicans. This revolt eventually led to the Mexican-American War
(1846-1848), a war won by the U. S.

As a result, México surrendered over half of its territory to the U. S. including California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming, and of course the already seceded Texas.

Already with a bankrupt Mexican treasury, the Mexican President issued a moratorium in 1861 halting payments on all Mexican foreign debt. Much of this debt was owed to France, Britain and Germany. Only France pursued the debt.

Shortly thereafter, France invaded México to secure payment of its debt.

President Juárez ordered troops under the command of General Ignacio Zaragozato go to Puebla to confront the French. The Mexican troops consisted almost entirely of indigenous soldiers. Outnumbered by 5,200 soldiers and severely under-equipped they fought at La Batalla de Puebla for two hours. After which time the French were forced to retreat to Orizaba

Despite tremendous odds, the humble Mexican Army had defeated the most powerful fighting army in the world! It was the first time that the Mexican pueblo had really rallied around a common cause and proudly proclaimed, ¡Yo soy Mexicano!

For this reason, I would consider him to be the first real Tejano/Hispanic hero.  

I know this blog post is getting long, but just imagine for one moment if the French troops had defeated México at the Battle of Puebla. Napoleon after all fully intended to aide the South in the American Civil War.  Why you ask? In order to free several southern ports of the Union Blockade.

If you remember during this time, the Confederate General Robert E. Lee was having some success, and with the French's added intervention he might.. just might  have given him an added impact on the turn out of the Civil War. But that is another totally different story and one best left for conspiracy theorist.

Feliz CINCO de MAYO!

Let's all celebrate the day but drink responsibly. 

Make it a Feliz Día!

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