Cinco de Mayo (02:11)
In Paris, the date May 5, 1862 has no significance, but in Mexico celebrations throughout the country recall the victory over French invaders in the Battle of Puebla on the anniversary of Cinco de Mayo.
Reenactments of the Battle of Puebla (02:22)
Reenactments of the battle at Huejotzingo take place as well as religious celebrations in Puebla's churches.
Celebrations in Los Angeles (02:39)
Cinco de Mayo is celebrated in Los Angeles by Mexican Americans who recall the American Civil War was taking place in 1862 in a similar struggle for freedom. Mexicans are proud of this victory over the French.
Foreign Debt (01:50)
In 1861, Mexico is recovering from civil war between liberals and conservatives. When Congress suspends paying its foreign war debts, Spain, England, and France determine to occupy the Veracruz Customs to recover the debt.
Benito Juárez Prepares for Invasion (02:19)
Benito Juárez fortifies the Port of Veracruz and strategic forts inland, and creates the Eastern Army. Although generals were experienced, soldiers were not. Juárez grants amnesty to conservative leaders, including General Negrete.
Negotiations in Veracruz (02:33)
January 1862, ships from Spain, England and France arrive at Veracruz with the Treaty of London, assuring Mexico of non-intervention. Foreign Minister Doblado offers Europeans billets in Córdoba, Orizaba and Tehuacán.
Ambition of Napoleon III (03:39)
Napoleon III used Mexico's debt as an excuse to expand the empire by installing Archduke Maximillian of Austria as ruler. His Great Plan was to stop American expansion into Latin America, creating a Catholic empire from Mexico to Brazil.
Opportune Moment for Napoleon III (02:17)
Napoleon III relied on Mexican conservatives out of power and the impossibility of American aid during the Civil War. The suspension of Mexico's debt repayment gave Napoleon III an excuse for the invasion. Juárez names General Ignacio Zaragoza to lead the Mexican Army.
Explosion at San Andrés Chalchicomulca (02:15)
General Zaragoza stations the Oaxaca Brigade at San Andrés, Chalchicomulca, now Ciudad Serdán, Puebla, but an explosion destroys the town and the Brigade. Juárez activates the levy for the army.
The French Elite Troops (02:44)
Four thousand French troops under General Charles de Lorencez arrive in Veracruz the day of the San Andrés explosion. The French troops were experienced and well-armed. General Lorencez leads his troops toward Puebla.
Zaragoza's Army (01:52)
General Zaragoza's soldiers were hungry and poorly armed with weapons left from the Reform War.
David versus Goliath (01:58)
In the city of Puebla, Governor Tápia, with help from engineer and General Colombres, reinforced Loreto and Guadalupe forts. Benito Juárez doesn't expect victory, but a delay and reduction in French troops.
Lorencez Advances Toward Puebla (02:31)
Lorencez overcomes the the Eastern Army on the heights of Acultzingo, Veracruz, on his way to Puebla. Lorencez stations his troops at Amozoc, near Puebla. Lorencez ignores advice to avoid Loreto and Guadalupe.
Anti-Reformist General Leonardo Marquéz (01:26)
Lorencez depended on the arrival of Mexican conservative General Leonardo Marquéz from Atlixco to close the trap on Puebla, but Marquéz was waylaid by General Carvajal.
A Change of Defense Plan (03:53)
On May 5, 1862, General Zaragoza encourages his Eastern Army and positions his generals. The French Army is spied from Amalucan hill as they position for the attack on Loreto and Guadalupe forts. Zaragoza moves his troops in support of General Negrete.
French Assault on Fort Guadalupe (03:17)
French artillery failed to be effective on the heights, and Negrete's riflemen decimated advancing French troops. The French took Guadalupe on the third assault, and faced a determined defense.
Battle of Puebla, May 5, 1862 (02:01)
General Lorencez divides his attack and is met by Generals Díaz and LaMadrid as the Eastern Army goes from defense to attack. The French assaulting Guadalupe are surprised by a flank attack, and begin to retreat as General Álvarez's cavalry from Loreto surprises them.
After the French Defeat at Puebla (02:47)
Only 227 patriots died, while 476 French soldiers were killed. General Lorencez had been deceived to believe Puebla would rise up in favor of the French and the conservative General Márquez would aid them. The defeat at Puebla ruined Lorencez's military career.
Death of General Zaragoza (02:52)
While General Zaragoza was on the battlefield, his wife died. He died only four months after the Battle of Puebla. The war against the French occupation continued for six years, with many battles, but this first victory is celebrated.
May 5th: Glory of Mexico (01:26)
May 5th: Glory of Mexico
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