Lots of  Americans and Mexican immigrants go out and party on the fifth of May to celebrate the holiday Cinco de Mayo. The day has become a Mexican-pride day in the United States. Most people, including Mexicans,  don’t really know what the day commemorates.

On July 17, 1861 the Mexican president declared Mexico would no longer pay interest on it’s loans from France, Spain and Great Britain.  Mexican conservatives and the French set out to remove Mexican liberals from power in December of 1861.

What is Cinco de Mayo all about?

Many people think it’s Mexico’s independence day, but it is not. Cinco de Mayo (Spanish for the fifth of May) is the day Mexican army won a morale boosting battle during the Franco-Mexico War in 1862. The day is known as El Día de la Batalla de Puebla in Mexico.  It’s not as big of a deal in Mexico as it is in The United States. And, unfortunately, the Mexican army ultimately loses to French on June 7, 1963.

The French put in place Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico who had progressive ideas to limit the monarchy, democratically elected congress, abolish ion of child labor, limiting the work week, and eliminating the serf-like conditions that oppressed Mexican Indians under the Mexican government.

When the United States finished its Civil War, they turned their attention to the French occupation of Mexico ultimately indirectly providing Mexico with war supplies, money and threatened the French with war if they did not withdraw.

The Mexican militia, known as “republicans,” were able to muster a comeback and drove Maximilian out of the capital on February 5, 1867. The Mexican government regained control of the country on June 19, 1867. Maximilian was executed.

Franco-Mexican_War-sqr

So When is the Mexican Independence Day?

Mexican Independence Day is September 16. Ironically, it was not independence from the French, but from the Spanish in 1810.

In the United States, Cinco de Mayo has also become a day of conflict. Many people are offended or otherwise put-off by the hordes of people parading around with Mexican flags on their cars.  In 2010, in Morgan Hill, California, students wearing the American Flag-decorated clothing were sent home for being offensive to Mexican students. There is no reason why either group should be offended since the United States helped Mexico defeat the French.  By 2015, the students were allowed to wear any flag on their clothing.