Cinco de Mayo’s Real Origins

Samantha Valdez, Opinions Editor

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Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day. I repeat, Cinco de Mayo is NOT Mexican Independence Day. Also its not an invitation for you to wear a sombrero, eat guacamole, or drink margaritas. Also saying Happy Drinko de Mayo, or Happy Cinco de Drinko just makes everyone hate you. In fact the United States celebrates Cinco de Mayo more than Mexico does.

In 1861 Mexico had elected a new President, Benito Juárez. The country had a poor economy due to years of fighting, and because of this Mexico had trouble paying back debts to various European countries. Both Spain and Britain negotiated with Mexico and came to an agreement over the money; however, France decided this was the perfect opportunity to attack the country and form an Empire.

Under Napoleon’s orders 6,000 French troops were sent to the city of Puebla to attack and take over. Juárez put together an army of 2,000 men, mainly indigenous peoples and mixed Mexicans. The Mexican soldiers were greatly outnumbered and had poor resources. On May 5th 1862, the French troops reached the city of Puebla and the fighting began. The battle lasted a whole day and ended when French troops decided to retreat due to the loss of their soldiers. The Battle of Puebla did not fully end the war with the French, but it gave hope to the Hispanic people.

Today Cinco de Mayo is seen as a day where Mexico had its unlikely victory and spread hope within the country. The day represents the promise of a better tomorrow without European influence. So please, if you’re going to take something out of this just know Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day, but it should be respected as an important event that led to an era of peace and assurance.

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