How To Talk About Cinco De Mayo Without Sounding Like A Gringo

No, it isn't Mexican Independence Day.

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Let’s start from the beginning. You see, back in the 1860s, Mexico was kind of in a tough spot.

José Escudero y Espronceda, Public Domain / Via commons.wikimedia.org

Benito Juarez, the country's first indigenous president, had just managed to suppress a rebellion that tried to usher in a monarchy instead of a republic.

But the worst part was that Mexico owed a ton of money to Spain, England, and France.

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And you know how awfully sensitive those imperialist fools can get about a couple million pesos.

Anyway, the colonial powers made a deal and sent a bunch of ships to Mexico.

And they were like: "Benito, bro, pay up or we're gonna take over Mexico City and turn it into our big colonial backyard."

Soon it became apparent that the French weren’t in it for the money.

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They wanted to install a puppet monarch in Mexico to defend their imperial interests from the newly powerful United States!

As if having America as a neighbor wasn't bad enough for Mexico already.

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Unlike America, France didn't think it had God's permission to invade because of manifest destiny. But the French had reason and the Enlightenment, which are just as good. SMH.

But Mexico's army hadn't fled. It was hatching a plan.

Cinco de Mayo: La Batalla / Via yucatan.com.mx

What was left of the liberal forces from the civil war had holed up in the city of Puebla, some 70 miles from the capital.

The battle raged for a whole day.

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Here's a scene from a really terrible movie about the battle that came out in 2013, to give you an idea of how horrible it was.

But, of course, as almost always happens, Mexico lost in the end.

The French came back with even more soldiers and took over Mexico City. The enemy has never ceased to be victorious, y'all.

They gave power to this guy: Maximilian Von Hapsburg.

Franz Xaver Winterhalter, Public Domain / Via commons.wikimedia.org

Because, of course, an Austrian who had never been to Mexico was the best possible ruler for the country.

The hapless fellow only lasted for three years.

Edouard Manet, Public Domain / Via commons.wikimedia.org

And then Juarez killed him. Lesson learned: Don't mess with a dude called Benito, or you'll end up in a painting by Manet showing your hella close-range execution.

In any case, now you know what happened on Cinco de Mayo, 1862.

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So, when you get wasted on Monday, remember to drink against colonialism, not for it. Gringos in sombreros, I'm looking at you.