Card of the Moment #68: Cinco de Mayo Edition
May 5th, 2011 by slangon

Today’s Card of the Moment is brought to us by the number cinco. And the colors green white and red. And limes.

Although I am not, nor have I ever been, Mexican, Cinco de Mayo is one of my favorite holidays. I have no idea why. Maybe because it falls at a time of the year when I’m typically disgusted by the cold and it conjures up images of warm sunny Mexico. Maybe because I’m pretty partial to Mexican beers. Nothing beats a cold Negro Modello with a twist of lime. Perhaps it has to do with my love for pretty much all Mexican (or at least Americanized Mexican) foods. Tacos. Burritos. Nachos. Chimichangas. Quesadillas. You name it, I love it. Maybe I just watched one too many spaghetti westerns in my day and have a warped, romanticized vision of Mexico in my head. Whatever it is, I truely enjoy Cinco de Mayo.

Of course, contrary to popular belief, Cinco de Mayo was not invented by Corona and Old El Paso. It commemorates the Mexican army’s victory over superior French forces on May 5, 1862. After fignting the Mexican-American War (1846-1848), The Mexican Civil War (1858) and The Reform Wars (1860), the Mexican Treasury was pretty much depleted. Mexican President Benito Juárez basically decided that he was not going to pay any foreign debt for a period of 2 years to build up some capital, after which payments would resume. Apparently this didn’t sit too well with his foreign creditors and France, Britain and Spain sent naval forces to demand satisfaction. The English and Spanish negotiated with Mexico and withdrew their forces. That wiley Napoleon III, however, decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to establish a Franco-friendly puppet government south of the border.

Late in 1861, the French army landed in Veracruz and drove El Presidente and his government out. Keep in mind that at the time, Frenchy’s army was one of the best in the world, and hadn’t been defeated for almost 50 years. After taking Veracruz, they set their sights on Mexico City. On May 5, 1962, with 8000 troops, the French ran into a much smaller, much poorer equipped Mexcian force of 4000 men near Puebla. Somehow, the Mexican army was able to crush the superior French army.

The victory was a major morale boost for the Mexican people, but unfortunately, it was short lived. A year later, the French forces were able to defeat the Mexican army, capture Mexico City and establish Emperor Maximilian I as ruler of Mexico. The French victory was also short lived however and only lasted from 1864 to 1867. After the United States was done fighting amongst itself, it was able to provide assistance to it’s neighbor to the south and kicked Frenchy out of there. Maximilian I was executed by the Mexicans.

So there you have it. The story behind Cinco de Mayo. Think about that when you’re chugging Coronitas and stuffing taquitos down your gullet.

(By the way, I love the cartoon on the back of this card where Mayo Smith is rushing to give a contract to some young punk who just nailed an unsuspecting umpire in the back of the head with a beer bottle. Apparently, that makes him a “great judge of young players.”)

One Response to “Card of the Moment #68: Cinco de Mayo Edition”

  1. I agree that cartoon is funny

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