WHAT IT ISN’T:
It isn’t Mexico’s Independence Day. Mexico actually celebrated its independence on September 16th about 50 years before the event that led to Cinco de Mayo.
WHAT IT IS:
Mexico was in severe debt in 1861 after The Mexican-American War and The Reform War ravaged the country and its finances. The newly-elected president of Mexico knew the country was in no position to pay its debt and canceled the debt payments. France, after a failed effort to collect on the debt went on to conquer and take over Mexico. But before they did, 6,000 french troops fought 2,000 Mexican troops in a city called Puebla on May 5, 1862. The French lost that battle, but they ended up winning the war. Cinco de Mayo is the celebration of that battle because the victory gave the Mexican people a new sense of national pride.
BY THE WAY:
So, you’ve probably noticed that Mexico isn’t ruled by France anymore and they don’t speak French there. France’s occupation of Mexico only lasted about three years. Eventually, with a little help from the United States, Mexico was able to break free of the French empire once and for all.
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