Cinco de Mayo History

May 5th, 2008 by Mariah

Cinco de Mayo–a vibrant and festive holiday celebrated by people of Mexican heritage. Cinco de Mayo, celebrated on the 5th of May, commemorates the triumph of a small Mexican army over French forces in an 1862 battle. The Battle at Puebla took place only 14 years after the United States defeated Mexico in the Mexican-American War. On May 5th, despite the exhaustion of the troops and meager resources, the 33-year-old general and his army forced the invaders to retreat. After this defeat, the United States pledged military support to the Mexican army in the form of troops, weapons and ammunition to oust the French and send them home. Since then, the Mexican people and government have pledged their military support to the United States when crises have arisen, solidifying a partnership that began on May 5th, 1862. Cinco de Mayo is often mistaken for Mexican Independence Day. Mexico actually declared independence from Spain on September 16, 1810. Although Cinco de Mayo was a notable day in Mexican history, it is not a nationally recognized holiday in Mexico and is not widely celebrated there. In fact, the largest and most popular celebrations of Cinco de Mayo take place in the United States, where the holiday also serves as an opportunity to celebrate Mexican heritage and culture. The holiday is most celebrated in California, New Mexico, Arizona and Texas, and there‚Äôs a lot of history behind that. Texas was annexed to the United States in 1845, which led to the Mexican-American war. The other three states were annexed from Mexico in 1848 following the US victory in that war. Despite the war, all of these states continue to have close ties to the people and culture of Mexico. The town of Puebla, the site of the battle, has the most extravagant and colorful celebration in Mexico, with a reenactment of the battle in addition to the festivities