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Facts About Cinco De Mayo You Never Heard Of

In the United States, it is common practice for people to celebrate the holidays of cultures different from their own. One of the biggest holidays that a great majority celebrate is known as Cinco de Mayo, a national holiday in the country of Mexico.

With so many of the U.S. population being Mexican, it’s hard not to have heard of the holiday. And although people may celebrate it, not too many know much about it. Here are some interesting Cinco de Mayo facts to get you familiar with the day’s history:

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1. Cinco De Mayo Is Not Mexico’s Independence Day

Contrary to popular belief (and people who simply won’t look it up), this is not the day that the country won its independence over the ruling country. In fact, in Mexico, the holiday is recognized as El Dia de la Batalla de Puebla or The Day of the Battle of Puebla in English.

2. Mexico Was The Underdog In The Battle Of Puebla

A battle had broken out near Puebla City in Mexico, with the occupying French army vastly outnumbering the Mexican army. The French army vastly outnumbered Mexico’s men 2 to 1, and they had more weaponry and ammo.

Despite the advantages the French seemed to have, Mexico still won the day. Victory at Puebla City was just the boost drove Mexico’s forces on.

3. Napoleon III Had A Specific Interest In Taking Over Puebla

It is a little known fact that Napoleon III was an ally to the Confederate military during the American Civil War. The ruler of France had hoped to turn the city into a support base to boost the Confederacy during the war taking place across the Rio Grande.

Imagine if Napoleon III had been successful in his plans. The country might have had a different name then.

4. The Battle Of Puebla Didn’t Win The War For Mexico

The victory at Puebla City certainly was an accomplishment, though it did not win them their own war. The French Monarchy was eventually successful in subjugating the country of Mexico for at least five years.

After the French took over, it was Emperor Maximillian of Austria who ruled until 1866.

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5. Mexican President Benito Juarez Made It A Holiday

Benito Juarez, the president who had become deposed when Maximillian came to power, was the one who declared that May 5th in Mexico be recognized as a national holiday. It was on May 9, 1862, that President Juarez declared the day “Battle of Puebla Day” or “Battle of Cinco de Mayo.”

And despite the rich history attached to it, Mexico no longer recognizes May 5th as a holiday.

6. President Franklin Roosevelt Helped Bring Cinco De Mayo Celebrations To The U.S.

Have you ever wondered why Cinco de Mayo celebrations are so common in the United States? It’s actually thanks to a policy drafted by the 32nd president of the United States.

Known as the “Good Neighbor Policy,” it was a diplomatic policy presented by Roosevelt in 1993 that specifically “for the encouragement of friendly relations and mutual defense among the nations of the Western Hemisphere.”

7. But It’s Been A Tradition In California For A Long Time

Sure, the majority of the United States began celebrating the holiday thanks to Roosevelt. But California being the land of firsts that it is, has long celebrated the holiday. When news traveled to the Mexican miners of Columbia, CA in 1863 that Mexico was standing against France, they began to celebrate.

8. It Was Recognized As A National Holiday In The U.S. In 2005

It is no longer a holiday in Mexico, back it is a here in the United States. Back in 2005, it was Congress that put forth a resolution stating that Cinco de Mayo had historical significance. It was during George W. Bush second term that Congress called upon the president to proclaim that Cinco de Mayo be celebrated across the country.

9. Mariachi Music Was Created In Mexico And Dates Back To The 19th Century

Most of us are familiar with the fact that true Mariachi music originated in Mexico. But no one really knows the where and when. Sometime during the 19th century, it was in the city of Jalisco, Mexico that the music genre was born.

It was common practice for musicians to travel from place, performing and sharing stories of the revolution’s heroes and enemies, often carrying news of how the war was going.

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