Cinco de Mayo commemorates the 1862 Battle of Puebla in which Mexican forces drove back the French army, who was there to collect an unsettled debt.
At the time, Mexico was essentially bankrupt, thanks to a bloody and costly civil war known as the Reform War. When President Benito Juarez took office in 1861, he inherited a large debt from his predecessor but had no way to pay it.
Hoping to buy some time, he suspended repayment to France, Spain and England for two years.
Juarez came to an agreement with Spain and England, but France, under the rule of the infamous Louis-Napol