Cinco de Mayo: How the Battle of Puebla shaped American history


The Battle of Puebla in Mexico had a great impact on the American Civil War.

FORT WORTH, Texas – You may have heard that Cinco de Mayo is more of an American holiday than a Mexican, but chances are you haven’t heard how much of the often overlooked history behind the Battle of Puebla probably has. had a major impact on the history of the United States.

“I think we have a huge misconception when it comes to Cinco de Mayo,” said Daisy Rivera, American history and Mexican-American studies teacher at North Dallas High School.

The Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862 had a bigger impact on American history than most people realize, Rivera said.

If Mexican troops had not repelled the French invaders, historians believe the French government would have joined forces with the Confederate army during the Civil War, possibly changing the course of American history.

Instead, a bunch of outnumbered and armed outdated Mexican troops sidelined one of the elite fighting forces in the world at the time.

Outside the city of Puebla, the date is only a footnote in Mexico, but was celebrated by pro-Union Americans of Mexican descent.

“Once the news got to the United States, we were in the Civil War around that time, many Mexican Americans used it as inspiration,” Rivera said. “In fact, they ended up celebrating this holiday here in the United States, they started to create parades, with dances, with speeches.

These celebrations have stuck, evolving over the past century and a half into symbols of Mexican-American rights and culture.

If you’re planning on celebrating with Mexican food and drink, Rivera said it’s best to understand the holidays first.

“I think it’s important to have respect,” Rivera said. “When people go there, I hope they think of it not only as ‘I’m going to go out and party’, but also as the real legacy that has been left because of this vacation.”


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