Today marks the 160th anniversary of Cinco de Mayo, a day that is often confused with Mexico’s Independence Day, Día de la Independencia. However, that official holiday, which commemorates the Mexican War of Independence against Spain, is September 16 (1810).
Cinco de Mayo is often celebrated as a day of Mexican heritage and culture, but this important date has a deeper story. Cinco de Mayo is the official anniversary of Mexico’s victory over the French Empire during the 1862 Battle of Puebla.
Vastly outnumbered, 4,000 Mexican soldiers managed to defeat a French army of 8,000 that was well-equipped. It is theorized that had Mexico not defeated the French in Puebla on May 5, 1862, the French would have gone to the aid of the Confederacy (Confederate States of America) in the American Civil War, and the United State’s destiny could have had a different outcome.