Post Colonial Moment: Cinco De Mayo

Mexicans have been involved in revolutions long before the immigration debate in the United States.

From Wikipedia:

In 1862, in response to Mexico's refusal to pay off its debt, Britain, Spain and France sent troops to Mexico. These debts had become onerous due to the cumulative effects of the War of Independence against Spain, by the war with the United States in which half of Mexico's territory was lost, and by the recent War of the Reform. Troops arrived in January of 1862. The new democratically-elected government of President Benito Juárez made agreements with the British and the Spanish, who promptly recalled their armies, but the French stayed, thus beginning the period of the French intervention in Mexico. Emperor Napoleon III wanted to secure French dominance in the former Spanish colony, including installing one of his relatives, Archduke Maximillian of Austria, as ruler of Mexico. Additionally, wealthy Mexican conservatives as well as the leadership of the Catholic Church, alarmed by the election of the liberal indigenous Juarez, supported an intervention.

Confident of a quick victory, 6,500 French soldiers marched on to Mexico City to seize the capital before the Mexicans could muster a viable defense. Along their march, the French encountered stiff resistance before Zaragoza set out to intercept the invaders.

On May 4, an army of Mexican conservatives rode out to aid the French near the city of Puebla, but before they could reach their French allies, they were defeated by a Mexican loyalist unit commanded by General Tomas O'Horan.

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 outside Puebla. 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.

The French Emperor, upon learning of the failed invasion, immediately dispatched another force, this time numbering 30,000 soldiers. By 1864, they succeeded in defeating the Mexican army and occupying Mexico City. Archduke Maximillian became Emperor of Mexico.

Maximilian's rule was short-lived, and limited to areas near French garrisons. Mexican rebels opposed to his rule resisted throughout most of the rest of Mexico. He also quickly lost the support of Mexican conservatives when he turned out to be more liberal than they had expected. Once the American Civil War was over, the U.S. military began supplying Mexicans with weapons and ammunition, and by 1867, the rebels finally defeated the French and deposed the puppet Emperor. The Mexican people then re-elected Juárez as president.


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