Documents and art around the Battle of Puebla

06/05/2020

Various Mexican institutions commemorated the 158th anniversary of the Battle of Puebla, in which the Mexican Army, formed by peasants and indigenous people and commanded by General Ignacio Zaragoza, defeated what was then considered the most powerful militia in the world, the French.

Art based on the Battle of Puebla
Art based on the Battle of Puebla

The General Archive of the Nation indicated that the event recorded on May 5, 1862, was preceded by the War of Reform, which came to an end in 1861. After the decree of the cessation of the payment of the foreign debt due to internal conflicts, England, Spain and France signed a treaty to send armed forces to Mexico; however, Spain and England desisted by reaching an agreement with the country, and only France continued with the objective.

Before the historic battle of 1862, on April 28th the Mexican troops had a confrontation with the Gallic army in Cumbres de Acultzingo, in which national sovereignty was defended by four thousand men who faced six thousand soldiers under the command of the Count of Lorentz.

On May 5, when trying to take Puebla, the French invaders were repeatedly rejected by the Mexican Army. The Mexican defense took refuge in the forts of Loreto and Guadalupe; in spite of the little armament they had, they managed to repel the invaders.

That was the first time that France, with the most powerful army in the world at that time, was defeated after almost half a century of victories, at the same time that the Mexicans scored the first great victory in their history. That is why this event has not only endured in the memory of the people, but has been represented on numerous occasions.

Some of the paintings that account for this event are found at the National Museum of History, such as the work painted in 1903 by José Cusachs, or the one entitled "Lucha cuerpo a cuerpo", created in 1862 by Patricio Ramos Ortega and which currently belongs to the Mexican History Museum Collection.

By Mexicanist