The History Behind Cinco de Mayo | Teen Ink

The History Behind Cinco de Mayo

April 21, 2009
By Kaitlynn GOLD, Newberry, Florida
Kaitlynn GOLD, Newberry, Florida
16 articles 0 photos 10 comments

Cinco de Mayo: the Spanish name for Fifth of May. What's so important about this day, you ask? While it isn't Mexico's Independence Day as many people mistake it as (that day is actually September 16th), it is still very important. I hope you'll stick with me as we journey 147 years into the past to find out the history behind this Spanish holiday.

May fifth, 1862. The Mexican forces are battling the French army, outnumbered two-to-one. This French army was trying to invade Mexico by order of Napoleon III. However, when the army landed on the gulf coast of Mexico, they encountered a lot of resistance from the Mexicans in Puebla. This city, the largest city in the state of Puebla, Mexico, stood up against the French invasion. Still with me? Good.

A Mexican General, Ignacio Zaragoza Seguin, led an army of 4,500 Mexicans to battle the 6,500 French soldiers. And these French soldiers weren't just any soldiers. These were heavily armed soldiers who hadn't been defeated in 50 years. Despite all of that, the Mexicans still went into battle, and came out victorious. The city of Puebla was ecstatic and this is how Cinco de Mayo was born. The city also has a formal name: Heroic Puebla de Zaragoza, named after the courageous General who led them into battle.

This holiday is celebrated most vigorously in Puebla itself, but is also celebrated in many places around the world, including the United States. I hope you've enjoyed diving into the history books with me to learn more about this important Spanish holiday.


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This article has 1 comment.

mikey12345 said...
on May. 7 2014 at 8:55 pm
good for you keep up the good work