Cinco de Mayo is Spanish for "Fifth of May", and is a celebration commemorating the Mexican army's triumph over French forces at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. The French under Napoleon III invaded with 8000 well-equipped men, and to the astonishment of everyone, the well-equipped French soldiers who hadn’t seen a defeat in nearly 50 years were stopped short of Mexico City, then soundly routed by only 4000 Mexicans. This victory was a huge moral booster for the Mexican militia and civilians alike, and some historians credit it as a turning point leading to greater national unity and pride in Mexico.
Unfortunately, the victory didn’t stand for long. Napoleon III was incensed! A year later, he sent 30,000 men to Mexico (can we say overkill?) to defeat the Mexican army, take over Mexico City, and install Emperor Maximilian I as ruler.
Max didn’t rule for very long. With the conclusion of their civil war, the U.S. turned their attention to Mexico and began providing military assistance to help expel the French by 1866. Poor Max was executed and shortly after President Benito Juárez returned to Mexico City and reestablished the independent republic.
Historian Justo Sierra argues in his Political Evolution of the Mexican People the Battle of Puebla was significant for the United States. If Mexico had not defeated the French in Puebla on May 5, 1862, France would have gone to the aid of the Confederacy in the U.S. Civil War. America, and possibly Canada, would be very different countries today.
Whether that is true or not, (likely not as the Franco-Prussian war went badly and Napoleon III was deposed), the rest of North America has since adopted Cinco de Mayo as the fun celebration it is, and this Sunday, we’re joined by our fellow Canadians to celebrate with Mexican music, food and drink!
We decided to make a special dish to celebrate with our amazing customers! We’ll be serving MOLE enchiladas. If you haven’t tried one of OUR Mole enchiladas, you are in for a treat. Make sure you schedule a meal at our restaurant or order online!