The Mexican revolutionary tale that was written in blood and glory on a date that’s been adopted by the United States is the Battle of Puebla, which took place on May 5th. It was the year 1861, and like many others, it was filled with state and federal government difficulties caused by rebel groups that were developing in the country. At the time, President Juarez ordered the suspension of the foreign debt payment of Mexico, a decision that caused a heated protest in England, France, and Spain which led to the decision made by the three European nations to enter Mexico and pressure President Juarez. Taking advantage of the situation, France, along with a group of exiles, intervened in Mexico and was the first to arrive in “Aztec Country” at the coast of Veracruz. The Spaniards arrived with a regiment of 6,200 armed troops under the orders of General Juan Prim. A month later, between January 6 and 8 of 1862, the English arrived with the French; the first time deploying 800 troops and the second 3,000 more. But the Spaniards and the English agreed that it would only be for a certain amount of time since with the French – who were full of excuses – they would give enough time for an order to intervene in Paris. On March 6th a second round of 4,474 troops arrived to Veracruz with 600 horses, on this date the Treaty of Solitude was signed by the Spanish and the English, but not by the French, who began to make way to the country’s capital.Since news of the second arrival of foreign armed forces was known, the city of Puebla was declared in a state of siege. On April 27th, determined to move
ahead of the invading French military and violating the Treaty of Solitude, General Lorencez was confident he’d deliver a rapid military victory that would take them in a matter of weeks to Mexico City. While they moved ahead, more Mexican troops kept arriving to Puebla under the commands of General Ignacio Zaragoza, who besides his young age was the most decorated thanks to his participation in the Reform War. Among others, under his command were Colonel Mariano Escobedo and General Antonio Alvarez. The French rushed into the Battle of Puebla, being that on May 5th was the commemorative anniversary of the death of Napoleon I. Confident about having a quick victory, General Lorencez began to think that this would be an unforgettable date filled with glory by the morning of May 5th and began the mobilization of the French military. Alerted, the Mexican troops put 1,200 men under the command of Negrete who would defend the Loreto and Guadalupe Forts. As of 10 a.m. the battle began. The French tried to lead their troops through the hills three times and every time they were rejected. While more French troops tried to climb the hills, more Mexican troops arrived to occupy the spots of those killed. At approximately 7 p.m., the fire came to an end while the French began to retreat, leaving behind their dead and their weapons on Mexican soil.The Mexican military dedicated itself to erect the camp gathering the bodies of those who died in battle and to care for the wounded. General Zaragoza proceeded to send word to the War Ministry via telegraph stating that the Mexican military and people of Mexico had been victorious. The news of the May 5th defeat came as a shock to France, since they had thought of this as an easy victory and resulted in a humiliation to the French military. That’s how victory was written by the people of Mexico.
The people of Puebla celebrate the Cinco de Mayo victory with a parade in which students participate dressed in uniforms like those of the Mexican Military in which the guest of honor is the President of the Mexican Republic. Tourists from around the world along with nationals enjoy this celebration for the Puebla people; on the other hand, here in the United States, thanks to the creativity of the beer and soda companies, the festivity was started at the Placita Olvera in Los Angeles, Calif. with such good response that many Americans join the celebration thinking it’s a celebration of Mexico’s independence, something erroneous since our celebration of independence is, was and always will be on September 16th. On your next plans to visit our Aztec Country, we invite you on behalf of the Governor of that State, to step on Poblano soil. Watched over by the Popocatepectl, the Iztaccihuatl and La Malinche, (mountains) proudly lies the noble but loyal city Puebla de Los Angeles, founded in 1531 with a religious service given by Father Toribio Paredes of Benavente (Motolinia).
Puebla de Los Angeles was the first colonial city, Relic of the Americas, home of Mexican baroque, known for its decorative art and colonial architecture and named “Humanity Cultural Heritage” in 1987. A heroic city that would gloriously win the Battle of Puebla in 1862 at the Loreto and Guadalupe Forts, this cultural city coexists with the modern rhythm, showing proudly the riches of the past in which there remain legends and traditions embarked within its 2,000 cataloged majestic buildings, eternal guardians in our history. Queen of Talavera crafts that symbolize the Poblano identity recognized worldwide. Its elaboration is based on traditional pottery techniques that trace back to the 16th century. The Talavera has the Denomination of Origin Four (DO4) which certifies it as one of its kind. Around 10 Talavera workshops count with this certification, identifying the authenticity of its pieces with the hologram and the DO4 abbreviation.
Puebla is synonymous with its foods. Puebla’s rich culture contributes from the foundation to the variety of ingredients that form a part of the Poblano cuisine, recognized internationally. The table is set and the palate treats itself with the traditional Mole Poblano and the exquisite nogada peppers, a baroque dish that is excellent, traditionally tasted in the months of August and September. Also the typical chalupas, cemitas, mole de Madera, cecina, molotes, cumin and ash tamales, are a part of the delicious Poblano cuisine. For a sweet ending, the great variety of sweets that come from Poblano convents can be found on east 6th street at the historic center; sweet potatoes, Santa Clara tortas, dairy candies, cicadas, marzipan, cookies and more.
I would like to give my sincere appreciation to Mr. Ricardo Rosas for his contributions about the City of Puebla. Professor Ricardo Rosas is a saxophonist who is a member of the Francisco I. Madero House of Culture Patronage in Coahuila, Mexico and who received a very well deserved tribute on two years ago in December in the city of Torreon, Coahuila. Mr. Ricardo Rosas shared his time and space to be our tourist guide this past visit to the Poblano territory, we would like to send a warm greeting to him and his family for their hospitality.