Happy Cinco de Mayo!
Cinco de Mayo is a national holiday in Mexico, marking the beginning of Mexican Independence (not to be confused with the actual independence day). In 1861, Mexico had declared that they would no longer repay foreign debts. By the end of the year England and Spain had withdrawn leaving only the French battling for a French monarchy in Mexico. On May 5, 1862 Gen. Ignacio Zaragoza’s troops defeated Napoleon’s troops at the Battle of Puebla. Although fighting would continue for another five years, this victory is seen as the turning point in the fight for independence. Since that battle, there have been no other invasions by European forces in the Americas.
In the United States, this is particularly important as the defeat of Napoleon’s troops by Mexico foiled France’s plan to take control of Mexico and help the southern Confederate forces in the United States to defeat the Union, thereby taking control of all of North America.
Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride. Check out your local library and bookstores for picture books celebrating Mexican culture today. Here are a few examples.
Cinco De Mayo written by Alice K. Flanagan and illustrated by Patrick Girouard (2003)Marco’s Cinco de Mayo written by Lisa Bullard and illustrated by Holli Conger (2012)
Ole! Cinco De Mayo! written by Margaret McManis and illustrated by David Harrington (2013)