Military defeat seems to play a larger part in Puebla’s history than it does in most of Mexico – the city fell to the Americans in 1847 and to the French in 1863 – but that isn’t what’s remembered. Rather, what’s remembered and commemorated here is the greatest victory in the country’s history, at the Battle of Puebla in 1862, when a force of some two thousand Mexicans defeated a French army three times its size. The French were trying to make the Austrian prince Maxamilian emperor of Mexico, but when they tried to occupy Puebla, Mexican troops based in the two forts on the Cerro de Guadalupe (the Fuerte de Loreto and the Fuerte de Guadalupe) beat them off, forcing them to withdraw back towards their base at Veracruz and putting a serious dent into French plans. To this day, Puebla commemorates May 5 (Cinco de Mayo) with a massive fiesta, and there’s a public holiday throughout the country.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Mexico features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

26 awe-inspiring architectural wonders

26 awe-inspiring architectural wonders

From ancient temples to hyper-modern skyscrapers, these are just a few of the world's most incredible architectural wonders. Whether you're looking to wander l…

01 Feb 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
12 cool places to visit in Mexico

12 cool places to visit in Mexico

Times remain tough for Mexico, but the truth is that there’s never been a better period to visit Latin America’s most diverse nation – most of the country…

16 Jan 2017 • Stephen Keeling insert_drive_file Article
The colours of Mexico captured in 14 pictures

The colours of Mexico captured in 14 pictures

Travel photographer Tim Draper has shot images for more than 20 Rough Guides guidebooks, visiting far-flung corners around the world. Here he shares some of h…

21 Jun 2016 • Tim Draper insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month