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Monday, May 4, 2009

Cinco de Mayo facts

I’m sorry but tomorrow the 5th of May is not Mexican Independence Day as it seems to appear. Mexico declared its independence from mother Spain on midnight, the 15th of September, 1810. And it took 11 years before the first Spanish soldiers were told and forced to leave Mexico.

So why is Cinco de Mayo a Mexican celebration? And why should we gringos (Americans) savor this day as well?

For the natives it is celebrated because on the morning of May 5,1862 near Puebla Mexico a force of 4000 Mexican soldiers smashed and defeated a combined the French and traitorous Mexican army of 8,000. This defeat sounded the end of French intervention in Mexico.

A little known historical fact is that about 5 months prior to this battle the French had landed in Mexico (along with Spanish and English troops) 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 Maximilian a Hapsburg prince with them to rule their new Mexican Empire. 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 was on the march to attack Mexico City when it was ambushed and routed at Puebla.

Many historians also feel that this defeat of a European power in the New World kept foreign nations from allying with the Confederacy. The American Civil War was moving into its second year and this moment it appeared that the Confederate States of America (CSA) were winning the struggle. Theories have been presented that European intervention on the behalf the CSA would have greatly changed the eventual outcome of our American conflict.

This is a day that celebrates freedom and liberty, two ideals that both nations-Mexico and the USA honor and respect. Therefore as a supporter of these principles and as a friend of old Mexico I’ll hoist a “cerveza fría” or two on Cinco de Mayo .

Modern Mexico is a wonderful mixture of people, native and foreign, their past and present all melted together. . It offers wonderful treasures of the native populations, the architecture of its colonial and vibrant modern beach resorts.

It is both a value and great place to visit. Once the current health concerns are cleared up i'm sure that there will be some excellent travel incentives to Mexico.

Viva la Mexico! Viva la Mexico!