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Cinco de Mayo – Dale’s Daily Data


Cinco de Mayo celebration in Los Angeles (Getty Images)

It’s a big celebration day in Mexico and for people looking for a good excuse for a party in this country – you don’t even have to be Mexican.  So what’s Cinco de Mayo all about?  It celebrates a huge military victory on the 5th of May, 1862 by Mexican soldiers over a French army double in size in a town 100 miles east of Mexico City. 

The French had landed in Mexico five months earlier, saying they were owed money from the Mexican government.  And with the United States wrapped up in the Civil War, Napoleon III had this idea he’d be able to easily take over control of Mexico and even lined up a prince to rule the new French run Mexican empire.  The French army was headed to Mexico City, but the Mexicans were waiting for them and handed the French its first military defeat in 50 years.  And it indirectly led to the end of the Civil War in the United States. 

Napolean was supplying the Confederates with weapons and with that support they were getting the upper hand on the North.

But with France busy battling the Mexicans, the weapon supply line to the Confederates was interrupted and a year later in the turning point of the Civil War – Northern troops smashed the Southern advance at Gettysburg – putting the rebels on the run. 

So in a way – Cinco de Mayo isn’t just a Mexican celebration – it’s an American one too.  A party celebrating freedom and liberty – and tequila.

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