Listen&Learn: The History of Cinco de Mayo

Jaksyn Peacock
Learn about the day that celebrates Mexico’s victory in a historic battle.

Pre-listening vocabulary

  • victory: the act of winning a battle
  • debt: money that is owed to someone
  • economy: a country’s system of money
  • invade: to enter a country by force
  • troop: a group of soldiers
  • patriotism: love for one’s country

Listening activity

Gapfill exercise

Cinco de Mayo is a that celebrates Mexico’s victory over France in the Battle of Puebla. The war began in 1861, after Mexican Benito Juarez paused debt repayments to European so he could support the struggling economy in his own country. France invaded Mexico in . On May 5th, 1862, Mexican troops defeated French troops in Puebla. Their victory did not end the war, but the day came to represent strength and patriotism for the Mexican people. Although Cinco de Mayo originated in Mexico, in Mexican-American communities introduced the holiday to the U.S. as well. Today, it is more widely celebrated in the U.S. than it is in Mexico.

Comprehension questions

  1. The Battle of Puebla was a battle between Mexico and
    a. America
    b. England
    c. France
  2. The war was caused by a dispute about
    a. debt repayments
    b. borders
    c. political systems
  3. Mexico’s victory in Puebla
    a. ended the war with France
    b. became a representation of strength and patriotism
    c. gained the interest of the American military

See answers below

Discussion/essay questions

  1. Cinco de Mayo has become a very popular holiday in the U.S., but many people who celebrate it do not know the history. Why do you think this is?

Transcript

Cinco de Mayo is a holiday that celebrates Mexico’s victory over France in the Battle of Puebla. The war began in 1861, after Mexican president Benito Juarez paused debt repayments to European countries so he could support the struggling economy in his own country. France invaded Mexico in response. On May 5th, 1862, Mexican troops defeated French troops in Puebla. Their victory did not end the war, but the day came to represent strength and patriotism for the Mexican people. Although Cinco de Mayo originated in Mexico, celebrations in Mexican-American communities introduced the holiday to the U.S. as well. Today, it is more widely celebrated in the U.S. than it is in Mexico.

Answers to comprehension questions

1c 2a 3b

Written and recorded by Jaksyn Peacock for EnglishClub

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