May 5, 2012

Remember, Remember, the Fifth of May

(NYTimes) Most Americans would be hard pressed to recount the events surrounding Cinco de Mayo, a holiday better associated with margaritas and lime-necked Coronas than any historical event. Some wrongly believe that May 5th is Mexican Independence Day (that’s actually Sept. 16th); others believe it marks the glorious founding of the country’s alcohol industry.
In actuality, Cinco de Mayo celebrates a stunning Mexican victory against French intervention: On May 5, 1862, Ignacio Zaragoza, a bespectacled young man who looked more like a graduate student than a general, led the brave defenders of Puebla in repulsing the elite troops of an invading French Army.
The Battle of Puebla was not just a much needed jolt of confidence for a threatened Mexican Republic; it was an event with profound repercussions for the direction of the Civil War in the United States. Continued