We Americans long have used Cinco de Mayo as an excuse for a party, even though Mexico celebrates its independence on Sept. 16.
Perhaps we prefer May 5 because our Independence Day is July 4. Or maybe it’s because spring is a great season for a celebration.
But whatever the reason, we actually do have good cause to celebrate the 1862 victory by about 4,000 Mexican soldiers against some 8,000 French fighters in Puebla, east of Mexico City.
Because the Mexicans outwitted and outfought the French, Napolean III lost any chance to support the Confederate Army with more supplies – and that may have helped bring the Civil War to an end a bit more quickly.