Do the French annoy you? Have you ever seen public buildings in Mexico and thought they looked curiously French? Well here’s a little ammo so you can poke your French friends (I have many, by the way) in the ribs.
What? Isn’t Cinco de Mayo about Mexican independence day and drinking margaritas? Nooo…it’s the day of a battle, when a small army of Mexicans kicked French butt!
Napoleon III invaded Mexico and setup his relative Maximilian as the emperor. The Mexicans weren’t too keen on having their country taken over, so this resulted in the Franco-Mexican war. On the 5th of May in 1862, the Mexican soldiers who were greatly outnumbered and ill-equipped (4,500 Mexicans against 8,000 French), crushed the French army and sent packing!
Although ousted, France left an impression on Mexico. The Degollado theatre in Guadalajara looks a whole lot like the Palais Bourbon in Paris, where the National Assembly meets. And there is a multitude of statues in Mexico that look like they came out of the French revolution. But we need to be extremely grateful to that small Mexican army for 2 things. If the Mexicans had lost, the USA would have snobby French neighbors on its southern border. Second, we’d have lost all the tasty food like chicken mole, flautas, and maybe even Margaritas. And that would be true tragedy!
So go ahead, have a Margarita, and make fun of your French friends like I do! 😀