One of the most important and celebrated dates of the year falls in the month of May, the most important historical event ever mentioned in history books and within our Mexican culture, the Battle of Puebla.
For those who live in Puebla, this fact is even more important because the streets are filled with festivity and each citizen celebrates the triumph of its town, to be part of this state so full of culture and history.
What exactly is the battle of Puebla about?
The Battle of Puebla took place on May 5, 1862 near the city of Puebla (Mexico), in the attack and defense of Loreto Fort and Guadalupe Fort, during the French invasion of Mexico. In Mexico it is commemorated with the “Cinco de Mayo”. It was an important Mexican victory with global resonance, because it defeated to the army more experienced and reputed of the time.
In 1861, after the long struggle known as the “Three Year War,” Mexico was in poor economic and political conditions. He was heavily indebted to Spain, France, and England. That is why Benito Juárez, who had recently been elected President of Mexico, declared a moratorium that would last two years, meaning that he agreed not to pay them during this time for Mexico to recover.
This decision did not please the foreign nations and so the French, Spanish and English came to Mexico in order to collect the debt by force.
How the battle started
Juarez asked them to come to a friendly settlement. As a result of the negotiations they produced a document called the Agreements or Treaties of Soledad and accepted the proposal of Juárez on the payment of the debt. In this meeting also they recognized the government of Juárez; Declared that they would respect national integrity and independence. Spain and England complied with the agreements, but France did not and sent troops to invade the country, so broke the Alliance.
It was May 5, 1862 when General Laurencez commanding French troops ordered the strong assault of Loreto and Guadalupe, who defended the city of Puebla under the command of General Ignacio Zaragoza; The invading army was rejected with heavy losses while it tried to take the fortifications repeatedly, finally they had to leave the field and retire defeated and persecuted by the Mexican cavalry.
Celebrating May 5th
Finally, the French army was defeated and General Ignacio Zaragoza sent a telegraphic message to President Juárez, who said that “national arms have covered with glory”
The Battle of Puebla symbolizes the spirit of struggle and the love of independence that characterizes the Mexican people. Today is celebrated this day performing civic ceremonies, in many cities are held parades. And it is also customary to represent the struggle of that day with people personified both Mexican and French.