The Battle was by no means equally balanced. France, under Louis Napoleon ‘s rule, had the most powerful army, and sent more than six thousand men to invade Mexico.But the courage and the love of freedom impelled the Mexicans to fight back.


General Ignacio Zaragoza led 5,000 ill-equipped Mestizo and Zapotec Indians called Zacapoaxtlas. On the 5th of May 1862, the forts of Loreto and Guadalupe, in the city of Puebla, became the scene of the historical defeat of the great European army.


Although, history reminds us that this was a short-lived victory. Later, on May the 8th the attack resumed under the French command of General Francois Achille Bazaine and his French Foreign Legion. Puebla was captured and the way to Mexico City was now open.

The French invaded Mexico, and with the help of the Mexican Conservative party, Louis Napoleon imposed Maximilian of Hapsburg as Mexico’s emperor in 1864.





The Conservative party was formed by the Catholic Church, successful businessmen and merchants, and by great landowners. They wanted to preserve their privileges at all costs.


Ironically, Maximilian really was committed to this new country, and he shared the values of the Mexican Liberal Party, more than with those of the Conservatives. Because of his views, he lost the support of the Church and the rich. Sadly, at the end, Benito Juarez regained power and had Maximilian killed by an execution squad along with his Mexican generals Miramón and Mejía, in the Cerro de las Campanas, Queretaro.


The last words of Maximilian were: “I die in a just cause. I forgive all, and pray that all may forgive me. May my blood flow for the good of this land. Viva Mexico!


On June 5 1867, Benito Juarez finally entered Mexico City where he installed a legitimate government and reorganized his administration.


This was the triumph of the Mexican Republic.


Nowadays, Cinco de Mayo is celebrated throughout the country, but very especially in the state of Puebla and in Mexico City.