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Mexican American Heritage: Cinco de Mayo

Traditions, Contributions, and Celebrations of Mexican Americans

Cinco de Mayo


colorful folklorico dancers

¡Viva México! ¡Viva Juárez! Viva el 5 de mayo!


The 5th of May is celebrated in the United States among the Mexican-American population, especially in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Various Mexican-American societies use the celebrations to commemorate the overthrow of the Mexican Imperial Monarchy headed by Maximilian of Austria. The Imperial Monarchy was imposed from 1864 to 1867 on Mexico by Napoleon III, Emperor of France (nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte) and the Mexican conservatives "Club de Notables".


History of Cinco de Mayo

Batallade de Puebla by Anonymous

The 1862 Battle of Puebla

Early on May 5, 1862, General Ignacio Zaragoza, a Texas-born Mexican met General Laurencez and 6,000 French troops just 100 miles from Mexico City. The battle would take place in a muddy, uneven field. Zaragoza, leading a force of 4,000 troops, many of them agricultural workers armed with antiquated rifles and machetes. The French defeat is anually celebrated in Puebla, Mexico, and Mexican-American communities in the United States. 

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