May 05, 2005

Feliz Cinco de Mayo, Y'All

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Hoist a Dos Equis and eat some good Mexican food.

Cinco de mayo is not Mexico's Independence Day, as some in the blogosphere seem to believe. Instead it celebrates Mexico's surprise defeat of a French expeditionary force in 1862. From the Wikipedia article:

The battle between the French and Mexican armies occurred on May 5 when Zaragoza's ill-equipped militia of 4,500 men encountered the better armed French force. However, Zaragoza's small and nimble cavalry units were able to prevent French dragoons from taking the field and overwhelming the Mexican infantry. With the dragoons removed from the main attack, the Mexicans routed the remaining French soldiers with a combination of their tenacity, inhospitable terrain, and a stampede of cattle set off by local peasants. The invasion was stopped and crushed.

I really love that bit about the stampede of cattle helping to do in the bad guys, which reminds me of one of my favorite Westerns.

Unfortunately for the Mexicans, the French returned in greater numbers and won a rare victory in 1864, installing Archduke Maximillian of Austria as Emperor of Mexico. His reign ended three years later as all good tyrants' reigns should end: in front of a firing squad. His wife, understandably, went mad.

So even if you're not into sharing a fun excuse to celebrate our nation's considerable Hispanic heritage, you can at least celebrate a French defeat, right?

Posted by JohnL at May 5, 2005 09:18 PM
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