Why did the Battle Of Puebla happen and who won? Cinco De Mayo explained

Jane Corscadden May 4, 2021
Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Why did the Battle Of Puebla happen and who won? Why did the French invade Mexico in 1862? It’s the reason for celebrations on Cinco De Mayo, but how much do you know about the battle itself?

Let’s take a closer look…

Why did the Battle Of Puebla happen? Why did the French invade Mexico?

Many believe that Cinco De Mayo is Mexican Independence Day. However, this popular misconception is wrong. It actually commemorates one battle – the Battle Of Puebla, which was held on 5 May 1862.

So, let’s take a look at the reasons behind this battle between France and Mexico. In 1861, Benito Juarez was elected president of Mexico while the country was in financial ruin. Due to this, Juarez was forced to default on debt payments to European countries.

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Photo by Joe Raedle

France, Britain, and Spain sent forces to Mexico to demand repayment. Both Spain and Britain were able to negotiate with the Mexican government, and soon withdrew their forces.

However, France – led by Napolean III at the time – saw this as a chance to carve out an empire from Mexican land.

But who won the battle? How many French and Mexican troops were killed in it?

The French believed that their success would come easily, as they had 6,000 troops and the Mexican forces consisted of only 2,000 men. But the outnumbered Mexican troops secured the town of Puebla De Los Angeles ahead of the French attack.

The Battle Of Puebla lasted for a full day. But how many French and Mexican troops were killed in this attack? It’s believed that by the time they retreated, 500 French soldiers had been killed, while just 100 Mexican soldiers had been killed.

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Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

So, it’s safe to say that the Battle Of Puebla was a win for the Mexican government and troops!

To this day, the battle is marked on Cinco De Mayo – typically with parades and celebrations of Mexican culture.

Jane is a freelance journalist from Belfast, Northern Ireland specialising in news, culture and politics. She studied Politics at Queen’s University Belfast before completing a Journalism MA at the University of Ulster. Always trawling social media and keeping up to date with the latest trends and crazes, her main interest lies in digital culture and internet trends.