One of the most important national holidays of Mexico is the Cinco de Mayo, the Fifth of May. With the country’s history rich in wars and armed conflicts, this time Mexicans commemorate the 1862 Battle of Puebla, which has caused a significant impact ont he future of not only Mexico, but the whole North-American continent.
The nowadays worn-out term „state-dept” was also well-known already in the 19th century, and it once even became „casus belli” between France and Mexico. It happened, after Mexican president Benito Juarez officially declared to suspend the repayment of state debts the country collected by using foreign loans to finance the last 20 years of civil war and turmoil. The European superpowers of that era, who happened to be the main creditors, expressed clear dissatisfaction over this decision. France’s Emperor Napoleon III. went even as far as sending a strong fleet and army to attack Mexico. Since they have significantly outnumbered Mexican troops both in numbers and in techniqual equipment, the French army – considered among the strongest int he world of the time – quickly captured the port town of Veracruz, and then pushed forth towards Mexico City. On May 5th 1862, they engaged in a battle with the Mexican forces nearly half of their numbers by the town of Puebla. The Mexican army fought enthusiastically and heroically, and finally managed to heavily defeat the overweening French.
The battle of Puebla proved to be only a minor defeat for the French army in the end, considering the fact, that within a year’s time they have captured Mexico City and took hold of the whole country, ruling it for over 3 years. However, the significance of this victory for the Mexican people lies in showing them that they were very much capable to fight and win together as one, and laying the fundaments of their national self esteem. The proud Mexicans even do not forget to mention, that the guerilla-movement that they organized under the French rule not only led to final victory and the chasing off of the French from the country, but also contributed to the final victory of the Northern powers in the American Civil War, distracting French capacities from supporting the Southern States.
As a last word, let us remark humbly, that the cradle of La Tienda’s ceramics is also the state of Puebla, so, on the 5th of May, beyond Mexico’s national holiday we also celebrate the crafted Talavera artisans of that time, who were cautious enough to survive the turmoils of the war
Happy May 5th! ¡Feliz 5 de Mayo!