5 de Mayo: What is commemorated on this date in Mexico?

04/05/2021

5 de Mayo is a very significant date in Mexico since it commemorates the victory of the Mexican army over the French troops that took place in the city of Puebla, in 1862, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza. In the Battle of Puebla, four thousand Mexican soldiers faced eight thousand of the French army, which had not been defeated for almost 50 years. For this reason this historical event is significant for our country.

It is one of the few victories Mexico has had against an invading foreign army, which is why 5 de Mayo is a date on which popular celebrations are held in certain places of the country, such as Peñón de los Baños, in Mexico City and Huejotzingo, in Puebla. The Reform War brought severe consequences for Mexico, as it derived in an economic crisis that forced President Benito Juarez to suspend the payment of debts contracted with France, England and Spain, which sent troops to the national coasts.

However, due to diplomatic negotiations and the signing of the Treaties of La Soledad, the Mexican government committed to make the corresponding payments. England and Spain abandoned the national territory, but the French government did not comply with what was agreed in the aforementioned treaties and began an armed intervention in Mexico.

5 de Mayo is also symbolic in the United States because in 1960, the date became a banner for Chicano activists fighting in the civil rights movement. 

The first time the 5 de Mayo was commemorated in the United States was in 1867, when Mexican immigrants decided to honor the memory of General Ignacio Zaragoza, who was born in Texas. Little by little the celebration gained popularity among the Mexican and Latino migrant community in the United States, as it is a symbol of identity.

In 2005 it became a national holiday in the United States with a resolution issued by Congress. George W Bush made the proclamation. Among the cities where the Battle of Puebla is commemorated are Los Angeles, Chicago, Texas, Oregon, San Jose California, Houston and Denver, among others. Los Angeles, California is where the largest celebration takes place.

By Mexicanist