Contrary to popular belief, Cinco de Mayo is not a celebration of Mexico's Independence Day, but rather a celebration of the Mexican defeat over the French in the Battle of Puebla.
Although the Mexican army was victorious over the French at Puebla, the victory only delayed the French invasion of Mexico City; a year later, the French occupied Mexico. The French occupying forces placed Maximilian I, Emperor of Mexico on the throne of Mexico. The French were eventually defeated and expelled in 1867. Maximilian was executed by President Benito Juarez, five years after the Battle of Puebla.
History of observance
According to a paper published by the UCLA Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture, about the origin of the observance of Cinco de Mayo in the United States, the modern American focus on that day first started in California in the 1860s in response to the resistance to French rule in Mexico. The paper notes that "The holiday, which has been celebrated in California continuously since 1863, is virtually ignored in Mexico."
Leave it to us to find yet another day for cause for a PARTY.