Each year, Cinco de Mayo (El Día de la Batalla de Puebla) is celebrated in the United States and Mexico to commemorate the victory of Mexico over the invading imperial French forces at the Battle of Puebla. While today, many “Western” powers adhere to the democratic principles of governance, in the 19th century, most of them practiced imperialism without much guilt. We all know that the self-ascribed civilizing missions of these Western European and Russian Imperial forces, including our democratic American expeditionary force in the Phillippines and other places, remain well-documented in the books and news media of the time. After all, David did overpower Goliath; such was the case for ill-equipped Mexican forces who triumphed over better-equipped French forces. The battle took place 160 years ago, on May 5, 1862, outside of Puebla. Here are some books that would refresh our memories about the significance of Cinco de Mayo.
Image Source: 5th May 1862. Depictions of the battle showing Mexican cavalry overwhelming the French troops below the fort at Loreto. Scene recreated by Francisco P. Miranda. Oil on canvas, 1872.
Some subject designations like the one below will help us quickly locate the books from our collections.
European Intervention in Mexico (1861-1867)
Mexico — History — European intervention, 1861-1867
France — Foreign relations — Mexico
Mexico — Foreign relations — France
Mexico — Foreign relations — 1861-1867
France — History — Second Empire, 1852-1870
And below are a few books that might be of interest to our readers.
Payno, Manuel. México y sus cuestiones financieras con la Inglaterra, la España y la Francia : memoria. México: Secrétaria de Hacienda y Crédito Público, 1982. Print.
Bourdeille, Christian. “L’intervention française au Mexique (1862-1867) : un conflit inattendu, une amitié naissante : actes du colloque.” Paris: Les Éditions du Cerf, 2018. Print.
Carvajal, Jose M. de J., and Gaspar Sánchez Ochoa. Contratos hechos en los Estados Unidos por los comisionados del gobierno de Mexico durante los años de 1865 y 1866. Mexico: Imp. del Gobierno en Palacio, 1868. Print.
Cluseret, G. Mexico, and the Solidarity of Nations. New York: Blackwell, 1866. Print.
Chevalier, Michel. L’expédition du Mexique. Paris: E. Dentu, 1862. Print.
Chandler, Zachariah, and James Warren Nye. Mexico. Speeches of Hon. Z. Chandler, of Michigan, and Hon. James W. Nye, of Nevada, in the U.S. Senate, July 12, 1867, on Maximilian’s Decree Ordering the Execution of the Liberal Prisoners … Washington?: Great Republic Print, 1867. Print.
And here is a clip that one might watch to understand further the complex nature of European involvement in Mexican affairs.