Cinco de Mayo is a yearly celebration held on May 5, which commemorates the anniversary of Mexico's victory over the Second French Empire at the Battle of Puebla in 1862, led by General Ignacio Zaragoza.
The victory of a smaller, poorly equipped Mexican force against the larger and better-armed French army was a morale boost for the Mexicans.
Zaragoza died months after the battle from an illness, and a larger French force ultimately defeated the Mexican army at a Second Battle of Puebla and occupied Mexico City.
However this was not the end of the war and when the American civil war ended the Union started loaning money and guns to Mexican liberals, pushing France and Mexican Conservatives to the edge of defeat.
At the opening of the French chambers in January 1866, Napoleon III announced that he would withdraw French troops from Mexico. In reply to a French request for American neutrality, the American secretary of state William H.
Seward replied that French withdrawal from Mexico should be unconditional.
Celebrations: Parades, food, music, folkloric dancing, battle reenactments
Observed by: Mexicans, Mexican Americans, and people of non-Mexican heritage
Significance: Celebration of the Mexican victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla, on May 5, 1862
Related to: El Día de la Batalla de Puebla