The role of a book written by by Alexander Von Humboldt and Cinco de Mayo.

Most Americans learn about the battle of “Cinco de Mayo” at school, and mistake it for the Mexican war for independence. The events that trigger this battle involved many interesting characters, countries, and stories that I believe, everyone ought to know. I’m sure you will find this story more interesting than reading a novel. 

Important Dates to Remember.

1821 Mexico’s Independence from Spain.
Mexico as New Independent Country. Great Britain, Spain and France money loans.

1838, 1st.  French Intervention Attempt.
“The Pastry War”
Great Britain and Spain forced France to withdraw.


1857.  Separation of Religion and State
“The Reformation War”
Benito Juarez elected President of Mexico

1862, 2nd. Intervention Attempt.
“Battle of Cinco de Mayo”
France trying to collect Mexico’s debt.

1864, 3rd. Intervention Attempt.
“Emperor Maximilian Rule”
Benito Juarez restored as President of Mexico

1838. The First French intervention attempt  – “The Pastry War.”

During the War of Independence from Spain, [1810-1821] there had been unrest in the city of Mexico, and a French pastry chef known only as Monsieur Remontel sent a complaint to King Louis-Philippe of France, claiming that in 1832 Mexican officers looted his shop in Tacubaya and he demanded 60,000 pesos as reparations for the damage [his shop was valued at less than 1,000 pesos] The Mexican Government  refused to acknowledge this claim as legitimate.

In view of the response to Remontel’s complaint, Emperor Napoleon III of France ordered a fleet to carry out a blockade of all Mexican ports on the Gulf of Mexico from Yucatán to the Rio Grande, to bombard the Mexican fortress of San Juan de Ulúa, and to seize the city of Veracruz.

However, this amount was never paid as Britain and Spain intervene to have The French forces finally withdrew on 9 March 1838 after a peace treaty was signedand that was later used as an excuse for the second French intervention in Mexico of 1862.

1862. The Second French Intervention in Mexico – “Cinco de Mayo.”

ThePolitical Essay on the Kingdom of New Spain” by Alexander Von Humboldt. first published in French. [Read my blog about him.]  and presented to the Emperor Napoleon III by the author himself, became the Emperor’s obsession, particularly the chapter about the natural resources of Mexico including the silver mines. Napoleon III was looking for an opportunity to  exploit those natural resources.  Also, Napoleon III knew that the1859 McLane–Ocampo Treaty, which Benito Juárez signed giving the U.S.transit rights along the Isthmus of Tehuantepec was never ratified by the United States Congress, and he wanted to build the “Tehuantepec Canal” shortest route [120 miles] between the Golf of Mexico to the Pacific ocean.


Late in 1862, a well-armed French fleet attacked Veracruz, landing a large French force and moving on from Veracruz towards Mexico City, the French army encountered heavy resistance from the Mexicans close to Puebla, at the Mexican forts of Loreto and Guadalupe.

The French army of 8,000 attacked the poorly equipped Mexican army of 4,000, led by General Ignacio Zaragoza, On May 5, 1862, the Mexicans decisively defeated the French army. The victory represented a significant morale boost to the Mexican army and the Mexican people at large and helped establish a sense of national unity and patriotism!

Cinco de Mayo has been celebrated in Los Angeles and Nevada by Californianos that started the Juntas Patrióticas since 1862. 

1864. The Third and Last French Intervention in Mexico! Maximilian I.

In 1864 the Emperor Napoleon III sent 30,000 French troops, which defeated the Mexican army, captured Mexico City, and install Emperor Maximilian I as ruler of Mexico. The French victory lasted only three years, from 1864 to 1867. Napoleon was facing a persistent Mexican guerilla resistance,  and retreated from Mexico in 1866.
The Mexican Liberals recaptured Mexico City, and Maximilian I was apprehended and executed, along with his Mexican Conservative generals Miguel Miramón and Tomás Mejía Camacho in Cerro de las Campanas, Querétaro.”On June 5, 1867.

Benito Juarez’ Mexican guerilla helped the cause of Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War 1863-1865.

Benito Juarez letters to Abraham Lincoln established not only their friendship and keen ideas about democracy, but also their recognition as elected presidents of each other’s countries.

 In the course of the Civil War in the United States of America, the Union blockade of ships delivering arms and supplies support to the Confederate army, was successfully intercepted by Benito Juarez’ Mexican guerilla resistance, these shipments sent from France to the Confederacy via Mexican Ports of Veracruz and Tampico and then driven by land through Brownsville, Texas, never reached the Confederate army, and were very helpful to the war against the French army in Mexico.

During the time Maximilian was in power, Benito Juárez was governing Mexico as the elected official president from his carriage, because he had to be on the move to avoid capture. He finally entered Mexico City where he installed a new government, based on the “Constitution of 1857”.

1867. Benito Juarez restored as elected President of “The United States of Mexico”, and The Constitution of 1857 implemented to this day!

Mexico was a colony of Spain for over 300 years, and liberal ideas of the “Enlightenment” had circulated widely among the city’s intellectual elite, and Creoles, resulted in the War of Independence in1810-1821.

However, there was no consensus over the structure of government to insure everyone rights were equal under the law.

The Reformation War, 1858-1860, was a civil war between the Conservatives, who favored monarchy and the power of the church, and the Liberals that favored a constitutional government. The “Liberal” Constitution of 1857, established individual rights, universal male suffrage, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, and the right to bear arms. It also reaffirmed the abolition of slavery, the death penalty. central government, a strong national congress, an independent judiciary,  executive to prevent a dictatorship.Juárez signed the Law for the Liberty of Religious Worship, the final step in the liberals’ program to dis-empower the Roman Catholic Church by allowing religious tolerance in Mexico.On April 6, 1859, the president elected Benito Juarez, a lawyer and member of the Indigenous Zapotec Juárez government was recognized by the United States during the Buchanan administration. 

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