Battle of Puebla

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Battle of Puebla
Part of the Second French intervention in Mexico
BattleofPuebla2.jpg
Depictions of the battle showing Mexican cavalry overwhelming the French troops below the fort at Loreto

Scene recreated by Francisco P. Miranda.

Oil on canvas, 1872
DateMay 5, 1862
Location
Result Mexican Republican victory [1] [2]
Political victory for Mexican republicans [1]
Belligerents
Flag of Mexico (1823-1864, 1867-1893).svg Second Federal Republic of Mexico Flag of France (1794-1815, 1830-1958).svg Second French Empire
Flag of Mexico (1864-1867).svg Mexican nobility
Commanders and leaders
Flag of Mexico (1823-1864, 1867-1893).svg Ignacio Zaragoza Flag of France (1794-1815, 1830-1958).svg Charles de Lorencez
Strength
4,500 [3] 6,500 soldiers [3] [4]
Casualties and losses
83 killed,
132 wounded,
12 missing
172 killed,
304 wounded,
35 captured

The Battle of Puebla (Spanish : Batalla de Puebla; French : Bataille de Puebla) took place on 5 May 1862, near Puebla City during the Second French intervention in Mexico. The battle ended in a victory for the Mexican Army over the occupying French soldiers. The French eventually overran the Mexicans in subsequent battles, but the Mexican victory at Puebla against a much better equipped and larger [5] French army provided a significant morale boost to the Mexican army and also helped slow the French army's advance towards Mexico City.

Spanish language Romance language

Spanish or Castilian is a Romance language that originated in the Castile region of Spain and today has hundreds of millions of native speakers in the Americas and Spain. It is a global language and the world's second-most spoken native language, after Mandarin Chinese.

French language Romance language

French is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French evolved from Gallo-Romance, the spoken Latin in Gaul, and more specifically in Northern Gaul. Its closest relatives are the other langues d'oïl—languages historically spoken in northern France and in southern Belgium, which French (Francien) has largely supplanted. French was also influenced by native Celtic languages of Northern Roman Gaul like Gallia Belgica and by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders. Today, owing to France's past overseas expansion, there are numerous French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian Creole. A French-speaking person or nation may be referred to as Francophone in both English and French.

Second French intervention in Mexico invasion of Mexico, launched in late 1861, by the Second French Empire

The Second French Intervention in Mexico was an invasion of Mexico, launched in late 1861, by the Second French Empire (1852–70). Initially supported by Britain and Spain, the French intervention in Mexico was a consequence of President Benito Juárez's two-year moratorium, on 17 July 1861, of loan-interest payments to French, British and Spanish creditors.

Contents

The Mexican victory is celebrated yearly on the fifth of May. Its celebration is regional in Mexico, primarily in the state of Puebla, [6] [7] [8] [9] where the holiday is celebrated as El Día de la Batalla de Puebla (English: The Day of the Battle of Puebla). [10] [11] [12] There is some limited recognition of the holiday in other parts of the country. In the United States, this holiday has evolved into the very popular Cinco de Mayo holiday, a celebration of Mexican heritage.

Mexico Country in the southern portion of North America

Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country in the southern portion of North America. It is bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico. Covering almost 2,000,000 square kilometres (770,000 sq mi), the nation is the fifth largest country in the Americas by total area and the 13th largest independent state in the world. With an estimated population of over 120 million people, the country is the tenth most populous state and the most populous Spanish-speaking state in the world, while being the second most populous nation in Latin America after Brazil. Mexico is a federation comprising 31 states and Mexico City, a special federal entity that is also the capital city and its most populous city. Other metropolises in the state include Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Toluca, Tijuana and León.

Puebla State of Mexico

Puebla, officially the Free and Sovereign State of Puebla is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 217 municipalities and its capital is the city of Puebla.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

Background

The 1858–60 Mexican civil war (known as The Reform War) had caused major distress throughout Mexico's economy. When taking office as the elected president in 1861, Benito Juárez was forced to suspend payments of interest on foreign debts for a period of two years. At the end of October 1861 diplomats from Spain, France, and Britain met in London to form the Tripartite Alliance, with the main purpose of launching an allied invasion of Mexico, taking control of Veracruz, its major port, and forcing the Mexican government to negotiate terms for repaying its debts and for reparations for alleged harm to foreign citizens in Mexico. In December 1861, Spanish troops landed in Veracruz; British and French followed in early January. The allied forces occupied Veracruz and advanced to Orizaba. However, the Tripartite Alliance fell apart by early April 1862, when it became clear the French wanted to impose harsh demands on the Juarez government and provoke a war. The British and Spanish withdrew, leaving the French to march alone on Mexico City. Napoleon III wanted to set up a puppet Mexican regime.

Reform War 1858-1861 armed conflict in Mexico

The War of Reform in Mexico, during the Second Federal Republic of Mexico, was the three-year civil war (1857–1860) between members of the Liberal Party who had taken power in 1855 under the Plan of Ayutla, and members of the Conservative Party resisting the legitimacy of the government and its radical restructuring of Mexican laws, known as La Reforma. The War of the Reform is one of many episodes of the long struggle between Liberal and Conservative forces that dominated the country’s history in the 19th century. The Liberals wanted to eliminate the political, economic, and cultural power of the Catholic church as well as undermine the role of the Mexican Army. Both the Catholic Church and the Army were protected by corporate or institutional privileges (fueros) established in the colonial era. Liberals sought to create a modern nation-state founded on liberal principles. The Conservatives wanted a centralist government, some even a monarchy, with the Church and military keeping their traditional roles and powers, and with landed and merchant elites maintaining their dominance over the majority mixed-race and indigenous populations of Mexico.

Benito Juárez President of Mexico during XIX century

Benito Pablo Juárez García was a Mexican lawyer and president of Mexico, of Zapotec origin from Oaxaca.

Veracruz (city) City and municipality in Veracruz, Mexico

Veracruz, officially known as Heroica Veracruz, is a major port city and municipality on the Gulf of Mexico in the Mexican state of Veracruz. The city is located along the coast in the central part of the state, 90 km (56 mi) southeast of the state capital Xalapa along Federal Highway 140.

Event

Map of the battle's terrain Puebla map.png
Map of the battle's terrain

The French expeditionary force at the time was led by General Charles de Lorencez. The battle came about by a misunderstanding of the French forces' agreement to withdraw to the coast. When the Mexican Republic forces saw these French soldiers on the march, they took it that hostilities had recommenced and felt threatened. To add to the mounting concerns, it was discovered that political negotiations for the withdrawal had broken down. A vehement complaint was lodged by the Mexicans to General Lorencez who took the effrontery as a plan to assail his forces. Lorencez decided to hold up his withdrawal to the coast by occupying Orizaba instead, which prevented the Mexicans from being able to defend the passes between Orizaba and the landing port of Veracruz. The 33-year-old Mexican Commander General, Ignacio Zaragoza, fell back to Acultzingo Pass where he and his army were badly beaten in a skirmish with Lorencez's forces on 28 April. Zaragoza retreated to Puebla which was heavily fortified – it had been held by the Mexican government since the Reform War. To its north stood the forts Loreto and Guadalupe on opposite hilltops. Zaragoza had a trench dug to join the forts via the saddle.

Charles Ferdinand Latrille, Comte de Lorencez was a French Army general under Emperor Maximilian of Mexico during the 19th century. He was a relative of the Empress Charlotte, who was the only daughter of King Leopold I, King of the Belgians and wife of Emperor Maximilian.

Ignacio Zaragoza Mexican general

Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín was a Mexican general and politician. He led the Mexican army that defeated invading French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.

Acultzingo Ciy and Municipality in Veracruz, Mexico

Acultzingo Municipality is a municipality in Veracruz, Mexico. It is located about 220 km from state capital Xalapa to the south-west.

Battle of Puebla, 5 May 1862 Batalla del 5 de mayo de 1862.jpg
Battle of Puebla, 5 May 1862

Lorencez was led to believe that the people of Puebla were friendly to the French, and that the Mexican Republican garrison which kept the people in line would be overrun by the population once he made a show of force. This would prove to be a serious miscalculation on Lorencez's part. On 5 May 1862, against all advice, Lorencez decided to attack Puebla from the north. However, he started his attack a little too late in the day, using his artillery just before noon and by noon advancing his infantry. By the third attack the French required the full engagement of all their reserves. The French artillery had run out of ammunition, so the third infantry attack went unsupported. The Mexican forces and the Republican garrison both put up a stout defense and even took to the field to defend the positions between the hilltop forts.

As the French retreated from their final assault, Zaragoza had his cavalry attack them from the right and left while troops concealed along the road pivoted out to flank them. By 3 p.m. the daily rains had started, making a slippery slope of the battlefield. Lorencez withdrew to distant positions, counting 462 of his men killed against only 83 of the Mexicans. He waited a couple of days for Zaragoza to attack again, but Zaragoza held his ground. Lorencez then completely withdrew to Orizaba.

Aftermath

The Second Battle of Puebla in 1863 Siege de Puebla - 29 mars 1863.PNG
The Second Battle of Puebla in 1863

The Battle of Puebla was an inspirational event for wartime Mexico, and it provided a stunning revelation to the rest of the world which had largely expected a rapid victory for French arms. [13]

Slowed by their loss at Puebla, the French forces retreated and regrouped, and the invasion continued after Napoleon III determinedly sent additional troops to Mexico. The French were eventually victorious, winning the Second Battle of Puebla on 17 May 1863 and pushing on to Mexico City. When the capital fell, Juárez's government was forced into exile in the remote north. [13]

Siege of Puebla (1863)

The Siege of Puebla occurred between 16 March and 17 May 1863 during the Second French intervention in Mexico, between forces of the Second French Empire and forces of the Second Federal Republic of Mexico. The French were advancing toward Mexico City, and were blocked by Mexican troops at Puebla.

Mexico City Capital in Mexico

Mexico City, or the City of Mexico, is the capital of Mexico and the most populous city in North America. It is one of the most important cultural and financial centres in the Americas. It is located in the Valley of Mexico, a large valley in the high plateaus in the center of Mexico, at an altitude of 2,240 meters (7,350 ft). The city has 16 boroughs.

With the backing of France, the Habsburg Archduke Maximilian became Emperor of Mexico in the short-lived Second Mexican Empire.

Fort Guadalupe Fuerte-guadalupe-puebla.jpg
Fort Guadalupe

Celebration

On 9 May 1862, President Juárez declared that the anniversary of the Battle of Puebla would be a national holiday, [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] regarded as "Battle of Puebla Day" or "Battle of Cinco de Mayo". [19]

A common misconception in the United States is that Cinco de Mayo is Mexico's Independence Day, [20] the most important national patriotic holiday in Mexico. [21] Mexico celebrates Independence Day on the 16th of September, commemorating the beginning of the war of Independence (September 16, 1810, the "Cry of Dolores"). [22] Mexico also observes the culmination of the war of Independence, which lasted 11 years, on the 27th of September.

Since the 1930s, a re-enactment of the Battle of Puebla has been held each year at Peñón de los Baños, a rocky outcrop close to Mexico City International Airport. [23]

See also

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Puebla, formally Heroica Puebla de Zaragoza and also known as Puebla de los Ángeles, is the seat of Puebla Municipality, the capital and largest city of the state of Puebla, and one of the five most important Spanish colonial cities in Mexico. A colonial era-planned city, it is located in (southern) Central Mexico on the main route between the capital, Mexico City, and Mexico's main Atlantic port, Veracruz—about 100km east southeast of Mexico City and about 220 km west of Veracruz.

The military history of Mexico consists of several millennia of armed conflicts within what is now that nation's territory and includes activities of the Mexican military in peacekeeping and combat related affairs worldwide. Wars between prehispanic peoples marked the beginning of Mexico's military history, the most notable of these fought in the form of a flower war. After the Spanish conquest of Mexico in the 16th century, indigenous tribes were defeated by Spain, thus beginning a three century era of Spanish dominance. Mexico's struggle for independence began primarily in the 19th century, and was marked by internal conflict of early rulers after defeating the Spanish in 1921. The Mexican–American War in the mid 19th century ended in the defeat of Mexican forces, and the loss of two-fifths of the national territory. In the remainder of the 19th century, a series of conflicts began in Mexico, as the War of the Reform and the defeat of the French during their intervention in Mexico marked events in that era.

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Cinco de Mayo is an annual celebration held on May 5. The date is observed to commemorate the Mexican Army's victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla, on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza. The victory of the smaller Mexican force against a larger French force was a boost to morale for the Mexicans. A year after the battle, a larger French force defeated Zaragoza at the Second Battle of Puebla, and Mexico City soon fell to the invaders.

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Battle of Barranca Seca

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Events in the year 1862 in Mexico.

The Battle of Las Cumbres also known as the Battle of Acultzingo was a skirmish at the Acultzingo Pass between the French invasion force under Charles de Lorencez and Mexican republican forces under Ignacio Zaragoza. It took place on 28 April 1862. Despite holding the high ground, Zaragoza was not willing to risk his forces by engaging the French Army in the open. As the French troops seized the first line of Mexican entrenchments, Zaragoza withdrew his forces to their stronghold of Puebla.

Francisco de Paula Milán

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References

  1. 1 2 Christopher Minster (2011). "Latin American history: Cinco de Mayo/The Battle of Puebla". About.com. Retrieved 17 November 2017.
  2. Booth, William (5 May 2011). "In Mexico, Cinco de Mayo a more sober affair". The Washington Post. Retrieved 17 November 2011.
  3. 1 2 "Cinco de Mayo". Mexico Online. 2007-04-25. Retrieved 2017-05-05.
  4. DeRouen, Karl R.; Heo, Uk (2005). Defense and security: a compendium of national armed forces and security policies. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. p. 472. ISBN   978-1-85109-781-4 . Retrieved 17 November 2011.
  5. The following sources are mentioning that Zaragoza was heading 12,000 troops : see The Cinco de Mayo and French Imperialism - HICKS Peter, Fondation Napoléon, and General Gustave Léon Niox book, Expédition du Mexique : 1861-1867, published in 1874 by Librairie militaire de J. Dumaine, p. 162 Read online
  6. "Cinco de Mayo". Mexico Online: The Oldest and most trusted online guide to Mexico.
  7. Lovgren, Stefan (2006-05-05). "Cinco de Mayo, From Mexican Fiesta to Popular U.S. Holiday". National Geographic News.
  8. List of Public and Bank Holidays in Mexico Archived 2009-04-16 at the Wayback Machine April 14, 2008. This list indicates that Cinco de Mayo is not a día feriado obligatorio ("obligatory holiday"), but is instead a holiday that can be voluntarily observed.
  9. Cinco de Mayo is not a federal holiday in México Accessed May 5, 2009
  10. Día de la Batalla de Puebla. 5 May 2011. "Dia de la Batalla de Puebla: 5 de Mayo de 1862." Archived 24 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine Colegio Rex: Marina, Mazatlan. Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  11. Día de la Batalla de Puebla (5 de Mayo). Guia de San Miguel. Archived 2012-05-12 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  12. Happy “Battle of Puebla” Day. Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  13. 1 2 Beezley, William H. (2011). Mexico in World History. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 71. ISBN   978-0-19-515381-1 . Retrieved 17 November 2011.
  14. Did You Know? Cinco de Mayo is more widely celebrated in USA than Mexico. Tony Burton. Mexconnect. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
  15. Cultural adaptation: the Cinco de Mayo holiday is far more widely celebrated in the USA than in Mexico. Geo-Mexico. 2 May 2011. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
  16. 25 Latino Craft Projects: Celebrating Culture in Your Library. Ana Elba Pabon. Diana Borrego. 2003. American Library Association. Page 14. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
  17. 7 Things You May Not Know About Cinco de Mayo. Jesse Greenspan. May 3, 2012. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
  18. Congressional Record - House. Page 7488. May 9, 2001. Retrieved 29 April 2013. Note that contrary to most other sources, this source states the date Juarez declared Cinco de Mayo to be a national holiday was 8 September 1862.
  19. Statement by Mexican Consular official Accessed May 8, 2007.[ not in citation given ]
  20. Adam Brooks. "Is Cinco De Mayo Really Mexico's Independence Day?". NBC 11 News. Retrieved 2008-09-18.[ full citation needed ]
  21. Retrieved February 6, 2009. [ dead link ]
  22. Central Intelligence Agency (2011). "The World Factbook: Mexico". CIA . Retrieved 17 November 2011.
  23. Geo-Mexico (2010). "The Battle of Puebla is re-enacted each year on Cinco de Mayo (May 5), but in Mexico City". Geo-mexico.com. Retrieved 17 November 2011.

Coordinates: 19°03′00″N98°12′00″W / 19.0500°N 98.2000°W / 19.0500; -98.2000