Cinco de Mayo (“5th of May”) is more than an excuse to drink margaritas. Cinco de Mayo actually commemorates the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862 – a victory of Mexican forces led by General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín over the French. The date is observed as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride around the world. The Battle of Puebla delayed the French invasion of Mexico City. Five years later, Mexican forces defeated the French and expelled them from Mexico.

Also on this day in history:
Philosopher Karl Marx is born (1818); France’s Napoleon Bonaparte dies (1821);  Carnegie Hall opens in New York (1891);  Alan Shepard becomes the first American in space (1961); and IRA member Bobby Sands dies during a prison hunger strike (1981)