You might call it Cinco de Mayo, but it’s known in some communities – and the entire country of Mexico – as <em>El Dia de la Batalla de Puebla</em>, and it’s kind of a big deal.
What’s more, it’s a pretty awesome story that involves an epic French drubbing, so sit back with your margarita and relax as we recount the highlights.
It’s May 5, 1862, in the state of Puebla, Mexico, and unbeknownst to all it would be the last year of Mexico’s civil war. Napoleon III, eager to collect debts owed by a fractured Mexican government, had sent a French expeditionary force to score some quick pesos and – if the opportunity presented itself – <em>to just go ahead and establish a Mexican puppet regime</em> to combat America’s growing power.
Clearly, Napoleon v3.0, nephew of the famed Tiny Terror of Waterloo, felt he had a reputation to uphold.
In his zeal – and hereditarily unqualified confidence in French military prowess – Napoleon sent the French contingent to march from their landing point at Veracruz to Orizaba with reinforcements, but <em>without</em> the Spanish and British allied forces that had originally arrived with them.
The lone French force, now led by General Charles de Lorencez, eventually made it to Orizaba and chased the locals out, which included a handful of Mexican soldiers and their commander, General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguin. They were forced to fall back to a place called Acultzingo Pass, and when the French beat up on them there they fell back yet again to Puebla.
And, it was at Puebla where Zaragoza met up with a mess of angry <em>hombres</em> who were none too pleased to hear what these French hooligans were up to. It was some seriously evil mustache-twisting villainy and they weren't about to stand for it.
Now, Lorencez could have left this hornet’s nest well alone, but at this point in history that would’ve been <em>soooo</em> totally un-French. Plus, nobody wanted to explain to Napoleon why his forces weren’t whipping the Mexicans into guacamole … so, he decided to charge Puebla.
And, oh man, did he pay for that mistake – <em>big time</em>.
Around 6,000 Frenchmen with a full artillery battery set upon Puebla on that fateful day in 1862 … and proceeded to get their teeth kicked in by about half as many Mexicans armed with little more than their <em>pistolas</em>. From both a military and political perspective, it was an awesome defeat.
Of course, Napoleon threw a fit and eventually sent reinforcements to take Mexico City, but it’s the Battle of Puebla that everybody remembers – and rightfully so.
<a title="ATG Stores Homepage" href="http://www.atgstores.com/" target="_blank">ATGStores.com</a> hopes you have an amazing Cinco de Mayo, and that you get a chance to raise a margarita glass to General Zaragoza.