Cinco de Mayo, really (encore post)

May 5, 2010

(Mostly an encore post, from 2009)

You thought Cinco de Mayo was Independence Day for Mexico?

No, it’s not.

History.com has a nice explanation, with a nice little video. Yahoo has a video this year, mostly animation with lots of advertising.

Perhaps the U.S. should celebrate the day, too, at least in those states who were not in the old Confederacy. On May 5, 1862, Mexicans under the command of 33 year old Commander General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín stopped the quick advance of superior French forces trying to invade Mexico to take it over, at the Battle of Puebla. While France did eventually defeat Mexican forces (after getting 30,000 men in reinforcements), the spirit of May 5 inspired Mexicans to continue to fight for freedom. And ultimately, Mexican forces overpowered and captured the French forces and Emperor Maximilian, who was executed.

Thus ended a great hope for the Confederacy, that French-supported Mexican Army would lend aid to the Confederates in their struggle to secede from the Union.

It is one of the great what-ifs of history: What if France had kept Mexico, and what if French-led Mexican forces backed up the Confederate Army?

One thing is rather sure: Had that happened, and had the Confederacy been successful, we wouldn’t be celebrating Cinco de Mayo in Texas today.

Battle of Puebla, Wikimedia (artist?)

Battle of Puebla, Wikimedia (artist?)

Mexican Independence Day is September 16.

_______________________________________

Update: Sam DeBerry sends a note that Seguin was a Texan.  So the Mexican hero of the Battle of Puebla was a Texan.  You couldn’t make this stuff up — real history is always more interesting than fiction.


Annals of Global Warming: Kiss goodbye the beaches of the Chesapeake Bay

May 5, 2010

Endangered beaches in Chesapeake Bay - map from Jim Titus, EPA

Endangered beaches in Chesapeake Bay - map from Jim Titus, EPA, via Wired

At Mother Jones Magazine’s website, “Buh-bye, East Coast Beaches”:

Over the past decade, [Jim] Titus and a team of contractors combined reams of data to construct a remarkably detailed model of how sea-level rise will impact the eastern seaboard. It was the largest such study ever undertaken, and its findings were alarming: Over the next 90 years, 1,000 square miles of inhabited land on the East Coast could be flooded, and most of the wetlands between Massachusetts and Florida could be lost. The favorably peer-reviewed study was scheduled for publication in early 2008 as part of a Bush Administration report on sea-level rise, but it never saw the light of day—an omission criticized by the EPA’s own scientific advisory committee. Titus has urged the more science-friendly Obama administration to publish his work, but so far, it hasn’t—and won’t say why.

So Titus recently launched a personal website, risingsea.net, to publish his work. “I decided to do my best to prevent the taxpayer investment from being wasted,” he says. The site includes “When the North Pole Melts,” a prescient holiday ditty recorded by his musical alter ego, Captain Sea Level, in the late ’80s.

Tip of the old scrub brush to Climate Desk.

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