Cinco de Mayo: What are we celebrating?

cinco-de-mayo-getty.jpgDespite what many think is a celebration of Mexican independence or just an excuse to drink copious amounts of tequila and Corona, Cinco de Mayo -- or the fifth of May -- is actually a commemoration of the Battle of Puebla.

Ready for a little history lesson?

On May 5, 1862, General Laurencez led 6,000 French troops toward Puebla, Mexico, where General Ignacio Zaragoza was waiting with a much smaller force of 4,000 underarmed troops. However, Zaragoza, a veteran in guerrilla warfare, was able to lead his troops to defeat the French, forcing them to flee. The victory was more of an emotional one for the Mexican people rather than a military one, representing resolve and bravery.

The United States was actually a major cause behind France's attack on Mexico, having recently won a war over the country and, in turn, leveling the Mexican treasury. Mexican President Benito Juarez had suspended Mexico's repayment of foreign debt because the country was essentially broke, so France was coming to collect.

In the United States, Cinco de Mayo has become a celebration of Mexican heritage with events across the country marking the holiday.

Now go forth and use your knowledge to win at bar trivia and hopefully get some of those Coronas on the house.

How will you be commemorating Cinco de Mayo?

[Source: PBS]
Photo/Video credit: Getty Images