Thursday, 5 May 2011

Cinco de Mayo

What is Cinco de Mayo?  And why should Americans celebrate this day?  Because 4,000 Mexican soldiers smashed the French army of 8,000 at Puebla, Mexico, 100 miles east of Mexico City on the morning of May 5, 1862.

The French had landed in Mexico five months earlier on the pretext of collecting Mexican debts from the newly elected government of democratic President Benito Juarez.

Under Emperor Napoleon III, the French had come to stay.  They brought a Hapsburg prince with them to rule a new Mexican empire.  His name was Maximilian; his wife, Carolota.

Napoleon's French Army had not been defeated in 50 years, and it invaded Mexico with the finest modern equipment and with a newly reconstituted Foreign Legion.  The French were not afraid of anyone, especially since the United States was embroiled in its own Civil War.

The French Army left the port of Vera Cruz to attack Mexico City to the west. Under the command of Texas-born General Zaragosa, the Mexicans awaited. Brightly dressed French Dragoons led the enemy columns.  

General Zaragosa ordered his cavalry, the best in the world, out to the French flanks.  In response, the French did a most stupid thing; they sent their cavalry off to chase Diaz and his men, who proceeded to butcher them.  The remaining French infantrymen charged the Mexican defenders through sloppy mud from a thunderstorm and through hundreds of stampeding cattle stirred up by Indians armed only with machetes.

When the battle was over, many French were killed or wounded and their cavalry was being chased by the Mexican horsemen miles away.  The Mexicans had won a great victory that kept Napoleon III from supplying the confederate rebels for another year, allowing the United States to build the greatest army the world had ever seen.  This grand army smashed the Confederates at Gettysburg just 14 months after the battle of Puebla, essentially ending the US Civil War.

So we decided to go to the Mexican Restaurant Jalapenos to see what was going on..... and wow..... they had a great celebration in full swing.

A Mexican Band, Margaritas, Dancing, Food.... it was all there. Below are some images of the evening (Quality not so good - Sorry).


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