Cinco de Mayo comes around every year, and people celebrate with Mexican food and drink. As if we really need a reason to enjoy tacos or carnitas. But do you know why Cinco de Mayo exists? What is the celebration all about? Some common responses I’ve heard are Mexican independence day and the day Mexico became free from Spain. Cinco de Mayo is actually the day that celebrates the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.
Mexico was already free from Spain, but they owed a lot of money to France and other European countries thanks to the loans they received during the Mexican War with the United States and the Mexican Civil War. Mexico got tired of paying their debt in the early 1860s and stopped sending payment to France. On May 5, 1862, Napoleon III’s army faced an ill-equipped Mexican troop who defeated the French, postponing Maximilian I’s title as Emperor of Mexico. A year later, the French returned and accomplished what they had set out to do, but the underdog’s victory at the Battle of Puebla is what we celebrate every Cinco de Mayo.
Questions for Conversation
Can you think of any other battles or disputes in which the underdog won?
Why do you think the Mexican army was able to defeat the French?
Activities and Printables
Download the May 10-Minute Teacher Calendar and follow along with us this month as we teach and talk with our kids everyday! May 2015 10-Minute Teacher