Cinco de Mayo
The 5th of May, Cinco de Mayo celebrates the Mexican victory over occupying French troops at Puebla in 1862. Though greatly outnumbered by the well-trained French force, General Ignacio Zaragoza defeated the opportunistic French, who were seeking to regain influence in the Americas under Napoleon III. The victory ignited Mexico's campaign to expel the invading forces.
The French had installed Ferdinand Maximilian von Hapsburg, a weak governor, who attempted to rule Mexico for three years. After French troops returned home, Benito Juarez triumphed over Maximilian's remaining loyalists and ordered his execution. Juarez presided over Mexico's government until his death in 1872.
Benito Juarez and Ignacio Zaragoza are honored among Mexico's greatest heroes. As well, Maximilian's influence and that of the French can still be found in much of Mexico's music and art.
Cinco de Mayo celebrations extend well beyond Mexico's borders into most Southern and Western states. Many Texans especially enjoy the annual Cinco de Mayo fiestas, which are traditionally celebrated with folkloric dancing, mariachis and plentiful feasts.
Learn more about Cinco de Mayo.
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