Before you head out to enjoy a margarita or two (or maybe a cerveza) to help celebrate Cinco de Mayo, I thought you might be interested in knowing a little background about this popular holiday.
It was on May 5, 1862, when a badly outnumbered and under-supplied Mexican army, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza, defeated a French army that was attempting to capture Puebla de Los Angeles. No, not the city in southern California, but a small town in east central Mexico. The battle lasted from daybreak until early evening. By the time the French retreated they had lost nearly 500 soldiers, compared to less than 100 for the Mexicans.
Although the town itself was of little strategic importance, the battle represented a great moral victory for the Mexicans. It proved that the country could successfully defend itself against a powerful foreigner. To this day, Mexicans credit the battle—and honor the day—as the beginning of their war of independence. Happy Cinco de Mayo.