05 May 2009

Cinco de Mayo

We had a Mexican feast at the Kartause. I've read that Cinco de Mayo is barely celebrated in Mexico (their independance day is 16 September), apart from the region where the battle that it commemorates took place. Apparently, it's mostly just an excuse for Americans to drink margaritas. I did find out, however, that the day has a connection to Austria as well. The story goes something like this. In 1861 Mexico stopped paying interest on money that it owed to France. France invaded. On May 5, 1862 the Mexicans won a battle against overwhelming odds. It was a great victory, but more or less meaningless in the long run - in the end the French took over Mexico. 

They then placed none other than Maximilian of the house of Hapsburg upon the throne as Emperor of Mexico. He and his wife Carlotta arrived supported by the French military and many Mexican monarchists, but they were opposed by many revolutionaries. As soon as the Civil War ended in the USA, Uncle Sam predictably began sending aid to the revolutionaries. When France withdrew military support, it wasn't long before Emperor Maximilian was overthrown and executed. It's quite a tragic story, especially since his wife Carlotta had in the mean time returned to Europe to ask for help from the various crowns and powers, and being repeatedly turned down had gone quite mad. I think Mexico would have been a lot better off under Hapsburg emperors, but that's how it goes...

On another train of thought, here is a really great picture of Thomas and Maria.


big daddy said...

Looks like Thomas is about as big as Maria! If not yet quite so voluble.

ckgaler said...

Well, if all it is, is an excuse for Americans to drink Margaritas, then let us make the most of it!