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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 French army provided a significant morale boost to the Mexican army and also helped slow the French army's advance towards Mexico City.
The Mexican victory is celebrated yearly on the fifth of May. Its celebration is regional in Mexico, primarily in the state of Puebla,where the holiday is celebrated as El Día de la Batalla de Puebla (English: The Day of the Battle of Puebla). 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.
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 the United Kingdom 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.
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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.
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 172 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.
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.
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.
With the backing of France, the Habsburg Archduke Maximilian became Emperor of Mexico in the short-lived Second Mexican Empire.
On 9 May 1862, President Juárez declared that the anniversary of the Battle of Puebla would be a national holiday,regarded as "Battle of Puebla Day" or "Battle of Cinco de Mayo".
A common misconception in the United States is that Cinco de Mayo is Mexico's Independence Day,the most important national patriotic holiday in Mexico. Mexico celebrates Independence Day on the 16th of September, commemorating the beginning of the war of Independence (September 16, 1810, the "Cry of Dolores"). Mexico also observes the culmination of the war of Independence, which lasted 11 years, on 27 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.
Fiestas Patrias in Mexico originated in the 19th century and are observed today as five public holidays.
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.
The Mexican Empire or Second Mexican Empire was the name of Mexico under a limited hereditary monarchy declared by the Assembly of Notables in accordance with the interests of the French Empire, during the Second French intervention in Mexico. It was created with the support of Napoleon III of France, who wanted to establish a monarchist ally in the Americas. The Assemblies' referendum confirmed Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian, of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine, as Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico, on December 4, 1863, with Maximilian officially accepting the crown on April 10, 1864.
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 the United Kingdom and Spain, the French intervention in Mexico was a consequence of Mexican President Benito Juárez's imposition of a two-year moratorium of loan-interest payments from July 1861 to French, British, and Spanish creditors.
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 Liberals wanted to eliminate the political, economic, and cultural power of the Catholic church as well as reduce 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.
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 1821. 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.
Élie Frédéric Forey was a Marshal of France.
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.
Puebla is a Mexican state.
Nogales is a city in the mountainous western region of the Mexican state of Veracruz. It serves as the municipal seat for the surrounding municipality of Nogales.
Ciudad Serdán is the municipal seat of Chalchicomula de Sesma Municipality in the Mexican state of Puebla.
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.
Pedro Hinojosa de la Garza Falcón was a Mexican politician and military general who fought in the Mexican–American War, the Reform War, and in the French intervention in Mexico. In addition, Hinojosa was governor of Durango, Nuevo Leon, and Chihuahua, and served as Secretary of War and Navy.
The Zaragoza Birthplace State Historic Park is located adjacent to Presidio La Bahía in Goliad State Park and Historic Site, Goliad County in the U.S. state of Texas. An amphitheater and bronze statue of Ignacio Zaragoza are also on the grounds.
The Battle of Barranca Seca was a battle of the Second French intervention in Mexico and took place right after the Battle of Puebla on 18 May 1862. Contrary to the latter it was won by the unified reactionist Mexican-French forces. The battle was preceded by a coup de chef of the reactionist forces, which was heated by the intrigue of the Spanish high command against Almonte and Márquez and French pressure towards the replacement of Zuloaga. After the battle Almonte remained the only contender for the Commander-in-Chief office within the reactionist party and Márquez as acting General; both of them serving French interests.
The Capture of Orizaba was a battle of the War of Mexican Independence that occurred on 28 October 1812 at Orizaba, Veracruz. The battle was fought between the royalist forces loyal to the Spanish crown, commanded by General José Antonio Andrade, and the Mexican rebels fighting for independence from the Spanish Empire, commanded by José María Morelos y Pavón. The battle resulted in a victory for the Mexican rebels.
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.
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.
Jesús González Ortega was a military man and Mexican politician; governor of Zacatecas and actively participated next to Benito Juárez in the War of Reform and during the French intervention in Mexico. He is notable for defending the city of Puebla from the French army March 16, 1863 to May 16, 1863. .
Francisco de Paula Milán was an officier of the Mexican Army from the Liberals group, that fought in the service of Benito Juárez.
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