May 5, 1862 or, as otherwise known, the Battle of Puebla is a very important episode in Mexican history because it marks the defeat, by the Mexican Army, of large numbered and better equipped French troops.

Due to the financial crisis that troubled the country, the recently elected President of Mexico, Benito Juarez, suspended foreign payments for two years. A year earlier, the creditors (France, England and Spain) had signed a treaty to intervene Mexico to defend their own interests. By February 1862, England and Spain withdrew from the treaty and from the country after several diplomatic negotiations with the Mexican government. However, seeing Mexico as a juicy bounty, France would not leave. The conflict unfolded. French imperial troops stationed in Veracruz headed off to invade Mexico City, crossing through Puebla. On the first large battle (April 28), the French lost 500 soldiers. Aiming to reach their destination- Mexico City-, on May 5 the French were besieged and defeated in Puebla. The victorious Battle of Puebla symbolizes the fighting spirit that represents the Mexican society.

While “5 de Mayo” is also celebrated in the US, it has unfortunately been mistaken for the Mexican Independence. The event widely celebrated in the US, is observed as a commemoration of the Mexican-American communities’ ethnic pride.

 

The Significance of May 5

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