Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo, May 5, the anniversary of Mexico's victory over France in 1862 in the Battle of Puebla, in which Gen. Ignacio Zaragoza's small, ill-equipped Mexican forces defeated a much larger French force; the French, however, continued to occupy Mexico for several more years. Although still observed in Puebla state, the holiday is more popular in the United States than Mexico, and has become a celebration of Mexican-American culture. It is sometimes mistaken by non-Mexicans for Mexico's independence day, which is September 16.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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