Action scene from the Battle of Puebla (Batallia de Puebla)
fought on May 5, 1862 (5 de mayo de
Oil on canvas by José Cusachs, 1903
Nacional De Historia
French-Mexican War 1861-1867
also called the War of the French Intervention,
Mexican-French War, is not to be mixed up with the
Pastry War, which was also a quarrel
between France and Mexico.
in Mexico started in December 1861. First, Spain arrived with their
delegation on December 1861, little later the French and the British.
was officially conquered by the French on June 10, 1863.
What Were the Causes
of the French-Mexican War?
Mexican's foreign debts, the seeking of foreign help by conservative
Mexicans, and French
III's dream to extend his domain.
The Mexicans had enormous financial debts with Spain,
Britain, and France. In 1861, Mexico stopped all their payments. Spain
sent a fleet to Veracruz, arriving on December 14, 1861. France and
Britain followed suit and also sent their debt collectors.
France demanded $15,000,000 from the
Mexican government. Spain and Great Britain thought the amount
outrageous. Additionally, it became clear that Napoleon III didn't
send his boys to just get the money. He figured this to be an
excellent opportunity to make Mexico part of his domain by means of a
out-ambitioned, the Spanish and the British sailed back home. The French
stayed put, ready to talk shop.
The Battle of Puebla -
May 5, 1862
On their way to Mexico City, the French
had to come through the city of Puebla (not Pueblo), where they arrived on May 5,
1862. But Puebla was fortified and not inclined to let the French
The Battle of Puebla (Batallia de Puebla) became a victory for the Mexicans
and a Mexican holiday (Cinco de Mayo = Fifth of May.)
And here are some Cinco de Mayo
decorations photographed by C.B. Waite. Just in case you were
wondering how the folks in Mexico City celebrated the day in the
CINCO DE MAYO IN MEXICO CITY EARLY
Benson Latin American Collection, University of Texas Libraries
Back to the war.
The French waited for reinforcements and
visited Puebla again with 30,000 fresh soldiers from France. Puebla
surrendered and so did Mexico City.
Maximilian of Austria was made Emperor of Mexico in June 1864.
relatively comfy on his throne, assuming he had French military backup.
Therefore, Max made big eyes
when the French soldiers withdrew.
Why Did Napoleon III Withdraw
The U.S. got
their act together after the
War and put pressure on
Napoleon III, claiming a French presence in Mexico violated the
Emperor Maximilian of Mexico with his wife Charlotte (Carlota)
© Hulton-Deutsch Collection/Corbis
There he was, Emperor Maximilian of Mexico, all by himself.
Maximilian's wife, Charlotte, tried knocking on every thinkable door
in Europe and asked everybody and their uncle for help. But as no one
saw any profit in helping poor Max, the emperor was executed at
Querétaro, north of Mexico City, on June
Here is more about
Archduke Maximilian of
Puebla was recaptured by the
Mexicans on April 2, 1867, and
continued his interrupted presidency.
And here is the map
WAR OF THE
Click map to enlarge
The French-Mexican War Today
If you are a fan of mock naval battles
you should go down to Mazatlan during Carnival time, end of January -
February, where the people remember and celebrate the
successful defense of Mazatlán from the attacking French warship La Cordeliere in 1864.
Each year on April
30, the French Foreign Legion celebrates the
anniversary of the
Battle of Camarón, also called the
Battle of Camerone,
that was fought in 1863. In this battle, 64
legionnaires resisted 2,000 Mexicans for 9
Battle of Camerone — April 30, 1863
Jean Adolphe Beauce
de la Défense