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Cinco de Mayo - 5 mai

The holiday originated with a surprising battle. In 1861, France, England and Spain sent ships to Mexico to settle a debt. Within a few months, an agreement was reached and the British and Spanish navy set sail toward home. But the French ships, by order of Napoleon III, began an attack. On May 5, 1862, 6000 soldiers under the commander of the French forces tried to capture the forts of Loreto and Guadalupe in Puebla de Los Angeles, Mexico. Two thousand Mexican men, led by General Ignazio Zaragoza, fought back hard and held the fort. Although smaller in number, the Mexican army won this battle but they did not win the war. The French conquered the country, and in 1864, a European emperor was put on the Mexican throne. Three years later, after a reign filled with problems, the emperor was deposed and killed.

Even during the short period of French rule, the Mexicans celebrated Cinco de Mayo. They changed the name of the town where the French were defeated to Puebla de Zaragoza.


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