So this weekend, as all of you are aware, Plymouth State University held it’s annual Spring Fling weekend. The campus hosted Sammy Adams and hundreds of police officers from around the state. Given this was my third spring fling, I had a pretty good idea of what to expect from my fellow panthers. Usually the festivities start after dinner on that Thursday and continue through to the 5th of May which happened to be on a Tuesday this year, known as Cinco de Mayo. Although many people know what “Cinco de Mayo” means, I’m not quite sure how many people understand what the holiday is actually celebrated for, so Imma learn ya.
Cinco de Mayo, also known as the Anniversary of the Battle of Puebla, took place on the 5th of May, 1962 in the Puebla de Los Angeles. During the French-Mexican War, a poorly supplied and outnumbered Mexican army under General Ignacio Zaragoza defeats a French army, under Napoleon III, attempting to capture their small town in east-central Mexico. In 1861, President Benito Juarez became president of a country that owed more debt to European governments then the country was actually worth. In response, France, Britain, and Spain sent naval forces to Veracruz to demand reimbursement. Britain and Spain negotiated with Mexico and withdrew, but France decided to use the opportunity to make a dependent empire out of Mexican territory. Late in 1861, a well-armed French fleet of 6,000 troops stormed Veracruz, landing a large French force and driving President Juarez and his government into retreat.
Assuming the French would have no difficulty pummeling anyone in their way, the massive French unit set out for Puebla de Los Angeles. From his new headquarters in the north, Juarez rounded up a rag-tag force of loyal men and sent them to Puebla. There was now 6,000 French troops ready to devastate only 2,000 Mexican troops. On the morning of May 5th the first shot was fired. The battle lasted from daybreak to early evening, and when the French finally retreated they had lost nearly 500 soldiers to the fewer than 100 Mexicans killed.
Although this was not a major strategic victory in the overall war against the French, Zaragoza’s victory at Puebla boosted the army’s moral, and six years later France withdrew. The same year, Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian, who had been installed as emperor of Mexico by Napoleon in 1864, was captured and executed by Mexican forces. Puebla de Los Angeles, the site of Zaragoza’s historic victory, was renamed Puebla de Zaragoza in honor of the general, whom was born in Texas. Today, Mexicans celebrate the anniversary of the Battle of Puebla as Cinco de Mayo, a national holiday in Mexico. So hey everybody, lets remember this next Cinco de Mayo because this day is not just an excuse to drink, it’s one of the reasons our world is the way it is today.