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Cinco de Mayo and the American Civil War

Alert readers will be aware that tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo-the May 5th annual celebration of Hispanic culture and its role in the U.S. The holiday is based on an event in Mexico but not widely celebrated there. Interestingly, the holiday was first celebrated in the U.S. in 1863 by Hispanic immigrants who wanted to highlight the effects of a war being waged against Mexico by the French army.

There are many misunderstandings about the origins of the Cinco de Mayo celebration and its significance. Probably the most common misconception is that Cinco de Mayo is Mexico's Independence Day (a myth: M...