1. Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s Independence Day.
2. Cinco de Mayo is celebrated every May 5 to observe the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Independence Day is September 16.
3. The Battle of Puebla took place in the State of Puebla.
4. Benito Juarez was Mexico’s President at that time.
5. Mexico owed money to several Nations including Spain, England and France.
6. Due to ongoing political unrest caused by many groups struggling for power, Mexico was not able to pay back its loans.
7. On July 17, 1861 President Juarez issued a moratorium; all-foreign debt payments would be suspended for two years after which, payments would resume.
8. The French invaded Mexico pursuing not only money but also land rights as payment for their loans.
9. Benito Juarez sent General Ignacio Zaragoza to fortify the City of Puebla and repel the French invaders, which he did successfully.
10. With the help of the Mexican Conservative party, Napoleon III imposed Maximilian of Hapsburg as Mexico’s emperor in 1864.
11. Benito Juarez slowly regained power and in 1867 finally entered Mexico City where he installed a legitimate government and reorganized his administration.
12. This was the triumph of the Mexican Republic.
13. In the Mexican-French war of 1862-66, 35,000 French landed in Mexico, of whom 1,180 were killed in action, 2,559 wounded of which 549 died. 32,000 Mexicans died.
14. “It’s not a Mexican holiday, not an American holiday, but an American-Mexican holiday.” Jose Alamillo, a professor of Chicano studies at California State University Channel Islands