Skip to comments.Cinco de Mayo a Mexican import? No, it's as American as July 4, prof says
Posted on 05/05/2012 8:45:52 AM PDT by mandaladon
Los Angeles (CNN) -- Cinco de Mayo -- the unofficial U.S. holiday long believed to have been imported, with celebratory beer, from Mexico -- isn't a Mexican holiday at all but rather an American one created by Latinos in the West during the Civil War, according to new research by a California professor.
Conventional thinking has held that the holiday -- now a commercial juggernaut -- may have grown out of the mass migrations from the bloody Mexican Revolution of the 1910s or even during Chicano Power activism of the 1960s, University of California at Los Angeles Professor David Hayes-Bautista said.
But on the 150th anniversary of the holiday, Hayes-Bautista is announcing that he happened upon the true origins of Cinco de Mayo -- the 5th of May -- after poring over Spanish-language newspapers in California from the mid-1800s while working on another research project.
Cinco de Mayo does indeed mark a Mexican military victory over the invading French army on May 5, 1862, but it's celebrated more in the United States because in 1862, U.S. Latinos of Mexican heritage parlayed the victory as a rallying cry that the Union could also win the Civil War.
That's because the French sympathized with the Confederacy, and Hispanics sided with the Union in its fight against slavery and elitism, Hayes-Bautista said. France sought to impose a monarchy over democratic Mexico while U.S. foreign power weakened during the War Between the States.
Hayes-Bautista, a UCLA professor of medicine whose family lore holds his great-great grandfather fought in the famous Cinco de Mayo battle, has just published a new book on the discovery, "El Cinco de Mayo: An American Tradition," which one historian also at UCLA describes as "of great significance."
(Excerpt) Read more at edition.cnn.com ...
“The French lost the battle but they conquered Mexico and only left because of the end of the US Civil War. They made Maximilian the emperor of Mexico.”
They lost the war and Maximillian was executed.