No, it isn’t Mexican Independence Day.
José Escudero y Espronceda, Public Domain / Via commons.wikimedia.org
Benito Juarez, the country’s first indigenous president, had just managed to suppress a rebellion that tried to usher in a monarchy instead of a republic.
‘Cause killing reactionaries is hella expensive, bro.
And you know how awfully sensitive those imperialist fools can get about a couple million pesos.
And they were like: “Benito, bro, pay up or we’re gonna take over Mexico City and turn it into our big colonial backyard.”
He said: “Listen, guys, I need some time to rebuild the country. I swear we’ll pay you back soon. I just passed some of the most progressive legislation in history. Give me a break.”
And they took their ships back from whence they came.
Which is surprising, seeing that Mexico owed Britain almost 30 times as much as it owed France.
They wanted to install a puppet monarch in Mexico to defend their imperial interests from the newly powerful United States!
Unlike America, France didn’t think it had God’s permission to invade because of manifest destiny. But the French had reason and the Enlightenment, which are just as good. SMH.
Cornell University Library / Via library24.library.cornell.edu:8280/luna/servlet/detail/CORNELL~3~1~75894~10040300#
The French army, one of the scariest and best equipped of its time, advanced without much resistance.
Cinco de Mayo: La Batalla / Via yucatan.com.mx
What was left of the liberal forces from the civil war had holed up in the city of Puebla, some 70 miles from the capital.
Public domain / Via loc.gov
Ignacio Zaragoza was an extraordinary tactician. Also, he totally rocked wire-rimmed glasses.
Bells tolled. Cannons were fired. Dust rose. Very scary.
Video available at: http://youtube.com/watch?v=EFxq2amMopU.
Here’s a scene from a really terrible movie about the battle that came out in 2013, to give you an idea of how horrible it was.
The French ran away! They turned tail like these penguins but only if the penguins had once been a formidable army.
They were defeated by a small band of ragtag veterans and forcibly conscripted peasants.
And that’s why we celebrate Cinco de Mayo every year.
The French came back with even more soldiers and took over Mexico City. The enemy has never ceased to be victorious, y’all.
Franz Xaver Winterhalter, Public Domain / Via commons.wikimedia.org
Because, of course, an Austrian who had never been to Mexico was the best possible ruler for the country.
Edouard Manet, Public Domain / Via commons.wikimedia.org
And then Juarez killed him. Lesson learned: Don’t mess with a dude called Benito, or you’ll end up in a painting by Manet showing your hella close-range execution.
So, when you get wasted on Monday, remember to drink against colonialism, not for it. Gringos in sombreros, I’m looking at you.