A look back at the true history of Cinco de Mayo

The continuing evolution of the meaning and historical relevance of ‘The Battle of Puebla’ also known as ‘Cinco de Mayo’ intensifies once one sees past the yummy chips and salsa and the ice-cold beer. 


Seven score and 9 years ago, this very battle and all the blood involved has lead to a day of national pride for the Mexican culture. A day of ice chests full of beer and carne asada on the barbeque in these modern times. 


And to the existence of the greatest nation this planet has ever seen, our United States of America.


“I guess I think of Mariachis when I think of Cinco de Mayo,” admits, architecture major, Jessica Cos.


“I used to celebrate it when I was in MECHAS in high school but I don’t really celebrate it anymore. From what I understand it’s a Mexican celebration and I’m not Mexican so I don’t know what the celebration is exactly about,” she confessed.


It is safe to say that the United States you know today would not be the same, if even at all, if it wasn’t for the defeat and demoralization of the invading French army at the hands of an out-classed Mexican force. 


For Mexican native and broadcast journalism major A.K. Cruz, Cinco de Mayo is a respected day but not a holiday celebrated in Mexico. Cruz remembers Cinco de Mayo as an important battle for Mexico known as ‘La batalla de Puebla,’ but is not sure at first which country was fought, “I believe it was England.”


This battle took place at the same time as the American Civil War.


France’s Napoleon III was planning on establishing Mexico as a base for France after the defeat of Mexico and thus continue funding the Confederate Army to overthrow Abraham Lincoln and The United States.


All those historically altering plans came to an abrupt end at the victory of the Mexican army at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.


The city of Puebla was the last city in the North American continent ever to be invaded by any European force.


The victory also served as a warning against any other European country with its sights on invading this continent. 


But we the people have taken the Fifth Amendment when it comes to knowing anything about the Cinco de Mayo, despite its direct impact on our culture as Americans. 


For undecided major Daniel Torres, the first thing that comes to mind is Mexican independence and beer.


But further reflection of the ‘Battle of Puebla,’ has Torres comparing Cinco de Mayo to the American Revolution.


“A bunch of farmers with pitch forks and barely working rifles taking on a well suited army? That takes balls,” he said.


Normalized relations between Mexico and France were established thirteen years after hostilities ended in 1880.