One Busy Guy presents...
The Story of Cinco De MayoDid you know that Mexico actually won it's independence from Spain in 1821? There was a good deal of infighting among factions. Father Miguel Hidalgo united disparate factions in 1810 eventually achieving victory on September 10 some 11 years later.
Mexico was one of the last great expanses of accessible land to possess in the 19th century. All the great European powers were intent upon having it. The French, English and Spanish were unwilling to give up any shares. Mexico was mired in conflict. Texas seceded from Mexico only 15 years after independence making yet another warring front for an embattled nation (remember the Alamo?).
Mexico was forced to surrender half of its' land to the victorious United States in that war (1846-1848) and was propelled into insolvency. Never a wealthy nation, they soon had to suspend international debt payments. This task fell to President Benito Juarez who was soon faced with a French occupation force intent on collecting an old debt. The French troops had expected to waltz in from Veracruz to Mexico City without resistance. A humble, under equipped rag tag army of indigenous Mexican peasants encountered the French at Puebla defeating them in only two hours time. La Battala de Puebla was fought on May 5, 1862. This second battle for independence bolstered a lagging sense of national identity.
It was a short lived victory however since the French would return one year later making their way to Mexico City and installing Maximilian of Hapsburg as regional Governor. Maximilian would govern only four years before having his head lopped of by constituents loyal to Juarez.
All Chicanos and the Mexican people in general celebrate the exuberance of Cinco de Mayo. The celebration is more about the spirit of victory and less about national independence. It is a time to relish the 'hutspah' of our ancestors. So let's party! Chips and salsa for all, plenty of cold Mexican beer, and don't forget the Tacos!