Cinco de Mayo, do you know what it’s all about? I found this information in the Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture, which is available online through Cengage Learning (see Reference A-Z on the library homepage).
“Cinco de Mayo, a Mexican national holiday commemorating the triumph of the Mexican army over the French on 5 May 1862, the battle of Puebla. General Ignacio Zaragoza led the Mexican army, consisting of about 2,000 conscript soldiers, to victory over a French force of some 6,000 well-equipped professional soldiers commanded by General Charles Latrille, Count of Lorencez. The battle was part of a campaign by the French to place the Austrian Archduke Maximilian on the Mexican throne and to establish an American empire. Although the French were ultimately successful in defeating the Mexicans and imposing Maximilian, the Mexican victory at Puebla, in the face of inadequate manpower and weaponry, inspired the Mexican nation to fight with new determination. Mexico, in honor of the victory, made Cinco de Mayo a holiday and an important national symbol. Cinco de Mayo has been celebrated for many years in the United States, especially in the Southwest and other areas with substantial communities of Mexican origin. It is often confused with Mexican Independence Day (16 September).”
So, now you know–go celebrate!
PS For a great local commemoration check out the Cinco de Mayo celebration at West View Elementary School, today (Saturday) from 2-8 pm.