Salud! to Cinco de Mayo

Each year the 5th of May celebrates the Mexicans defeating the French during the Battle of Puebla in 1862.
At that time it was a violent and chaotic time in Mexico. The country had finally gained independence from Spain in 1821, but there were still bloody struggles and a number of political takeovers and wars, including the Mexican American war and the Mexican civil war.
As a result Mexico was struggling with a number of accumulated debts to several nations including Spain, England and France. They had managed to settle their debt to the United States during the Mexican American war. But now there were pressures building from other nations.
France was eager to expand its empire at that time and the debt issue allowed the country to move forward with goals of establishing their own leadership in Mexico.
When Spain and England heard of Frances desires to expand they quickly withdrew any support within Mexico. The United States ruled by Abraham Lincoln were sympathetic to the needs of the country, however they too could not show support, as they were in the middle of their own civil war.
When the day came that Mexico stopped their loan repayments, France took actions to install Napoleon III’s relative, Archduke Maximilian of Austria as ruler of Mexico.
The French army, 6,500 strong, entered at Veracruz and marched on towards Mexico City. However, it was at Puebla that they were met by General Zaragoza and a small militia of around 4,500 men.
The French were defeated and this became an important moment for Mexico, as this smaller army had shown how a strong sense of national unity could work in their favor.
The victory however was short-lived. One year later the French returned with 30, 000 more troops, they took over Mexico City and installed Maximilian as leader.
His leadership was short lived also, ruling from 1864 – 1867. With the American civil war now over, it allowed the United States to show support and help expel the French from their leadership. The Mexicans executed Maximilian and to this day his bullet-ridden shirt stands in the Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City.
Cinco de Mayo honors the bravery and victory of General Zaragoza’s smaller outnumbered militia at the battle of Puebla in 1862. These days it has become more of a regional celebration and is most popular in the state of Puebla, where a huge parade takes place every year.
In the United States and on the US Mexican border it is also widely celebrated, and often mistaken for the Mexican Day of Independence. But no matter it is a great reason to eat, drink and enjoy festivities associated to Mexico.
However you choose to celebrate, perhaps it’s the perfect time to learn a little history and how to make a margarita, and say Salud! to Cinco de Mayo.
Classic Margarita Recipe:
2 parts tequila (reposado or blanco)
1 part cointreau
1 part lime
(Add sugar syrup if you prefer to be sweetened)
Salt for garnishing the rim

2017-08-26T22:20:22+00:00 May 1st, 2016|