Celebration of victory: Cinco de Mayo


Celebrating has begun in Wicker Park!

Cinco de Mayo* celebrations commemorate one battle that occurred on May 5, 1862. It was the Battle of Puebla during the French-Mexican War (1861 to 1867). 

Described as a "ragtag group" of between 2,000 and 5,000 men, many who were indigenous Mexicans or of mixed ancestry, their leader was Texas-born General Ignacio Zaragoza. They gathered all they could in the small town of Puebla de Los Angeles to fortify their encampment. 

Hunkering down, they prepared for the on slaughter of a well-equipped French Army supported by heavy artillery. 

General Charles Latrille de Lorencez with an army of 6,000 French soldiers attacked at daybreak from the east. 

By early evening, 500 French soldiers had lost their lives, while less than 100 Mexican soldiers had been killed. The French retreated. 

That victory bolstered the Mexican government to continue the resistance. 

Learn more about Cinco de Mayo, Mexican independence, American Civil War and how they were tied together. 

French-Mexican War (1861 to 1867) occurred in the same time frame as the American Civil War (1861-1865). 


Mexican history: Online history for Cinco de Mayo and for Mexican independence 

American Civil War: America's Civil War; Civil War era newspapers and Chicago's role in the Civil War.


*Note that Mexican Independence Day is Sept. 16.



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