Pastry war (1838-1839): If you are a fast-food lover, hearing the word ‘pastry’ will make you smile and hungry. Nowadays, one can’t imagine a birthday celebration or party without a pastry cake. Many people do not diet just for pastry-cake. You can’t stop looking at the colourful pastry-cakes in the showcase of the fast-food shop. People of all ages love this beautiful sweet pastry. However, it may strange to hear, but this pastry brings war between France and Mexico. To be more precise, because of the pastry shop. And this ridicules fight famous as “the pastry war“. This 175 years old strange war history also well known as “the First France-Mexico War“.
The Reason behind pastry war
Mexico’s time after getting independence from Spain in 1821 was not going well. Corruption and rioting across the country make a significant problem or Mexico. Everyone is trying to seize power. The political unrest in Mexico was too much. After gaining independence from Spain, 20 times the president has changed in next 20 years in Mexico!
Before becoming president of Mexico, Manuel Gómez Pedraza witnessed the tragic consequences of previous presidents. So he adopted several plans to keep himself in power for a long time. As part of this, Manuel Gómez Pedraza removed rival presidential candidates governor Lorenzo de Zavala from power.
But Lorenzo de Zavala was not the man to leave. A section of the Mexican Army also supports Lorenzo de Zavala. So after his dismissal from the governorship, Lorenzo de Zavala revolted against president Pedraza without delay. Massive clashes broke out between his loyal army and the president’s army.
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Battle of Tacubaya
Tacubaya is a small town next to Mexico City. When Mexico City is full of turmoil, the city people are terrified, but the Tacubaya was real quiet. No one can understand what going on in Mexico.
Monsieur Remontel, A French pastry chef from the peaceful town of Tacubaya. Monsieur Remontel has a pastry shop in the French market. A variety of pastry dishes sold there, mostly sweet food. He was famous in the city because of his tasty food. The townspeople bought his pastry without any hesitation cause Remontel is very careful about the quality of the food.
The clash between the two forces in Mexico City is slowly spreading, and very soon, the war also reaches in Tacubaya. Peaceful Tacubaya turns into a city of war. Shop loot or bank robbery has become very common in Tacubaya since then. Monsieur Remontel’s shop was across the street. He was running his business in fear after the chaos started in Tacubaya. But one day, a tragic event happened.
Pastry shop loot
One day president’s army stormed into Monsieur Remontel’s store. Pedraza’s drunken soldiers looted Remontel’s Pastry shop.
Stunned Remontel did not understand what to do. He was not a man who made billions of peso (Mexico currency) by doing illegal business. The illicit drug market in Mexico was booming. If he wanted, he could have earned lakhs of pesos by engaging in unlawful activity. But His only resource was this shop. That too was looted by the drunken soldiers of the army.
Remontel was initially confused by the shop stealing. At one point, he thought the government should seek compensation for shop stealing.
Remontel knocked on the Mexican government’s door several times but to no avail. The Mexican government is not willing to give compensation. The government’s argument for not compensating for shop robbing. The Mexican govt wasn’t able to refund its own people than how to Remontel? Because Monsieur Remontel was French.
Compensation and Dues to France
This time Remontel’s mood went terrible. So this time he went to the king of France himself. King Louis Philippe I of France looked up when he heard of Remontel condition. The inquiry committee formed on the orders of the king. The report of the inquiry committee said that not only Remontel but also many other French people in business had ruined. The king fell very bad for them.
France lends money to Mexico during the Independence war with Spain. France king demanded a total of 600,000 pesos from the Mexican government, a combination of wartime loans and property lost by French traders in internal conflict. The demand for six lakh pesos was proposed diplomatically to Mexico.
At that time, it was difficult for the Mexican economy to pay its dues. So despite repeated requests, Mexico did not pay the money. France feels humiliated by not getting the money it claims diplomatically.
The pastry war Began
France saw that the demands for peaceful settlement could not be met, so France tries drastically. A fleet of warships led by Admiral Charles Baudin sent to the Mexican coast. On April 16, 1848, the French fleet arrived at the port of Veracruz, Mexico. A siege imposed on the port of Veracruz.
Despite the blockade, France continued its diplomatic efforts. But one by one all their diplomatic efforts failed. About seven months after the navy was dispatched, on November 27, France start bombing at the San Juan de Ulúa fortress in Veracruz. As a result, Mexico also formally declared war against France.
The Mexican army could not find any way in front of the advanced France navy. Within a few days, the French occupied the entire city of Veracruz.
Santa Anna in The pastry war
This time a person appeared on the scene Antonio López de Santa Anna. He played a crucial role in Mexico’s war of independence. But later he turned into a villain from hero overnight, because of the loss of Texas. After the French occupied the port of Vera Cruz, Santa Anna set up a small army without the permission of the Mexican government. And He took the responsibility of its leadership.
Where the Mexican army could not stand in front of the French forces, anyone can guess what can a small army of Santa Anna could do. They couldn’t do much before the French. But his army fought fearlessly. This is what attracts the Mexican people.
Santa Anna leg Sacrifice
At the battle with the French, the cavalry General Santa Anna fell off his horse with a Splinter’s blow. One of his legs was seriously injured. Doctors forced to amputate his leg. Later his feet buried with full military dignity.
News of the loss of Santa Anna’s leg widely circulated in the media. He became a villain in the Texas issue. But after losing his leg, he became a hero to people again. Even many people began to call him ‘Napoleon of the West’. Using the ‘image’ he had during the war, he re-entered Mexican politics and became president.
Mexico’s fragile economy collapsed furthermore after the capture of the port Veracruz. Mexico’s leading foreign trade conducted through this port. All trade ceased after the possession of Veracruz. The Mexican government was also losing thousands of pesos a day in tariffs.
End of The pastry war
Mexico went to Britain after finding no way. At the request of the Mexican government, Britain attempted a diplomatic settlement between the two parties. This trick worked successfully. Mexico agreed to pay France. Mexico also accepts the economic and social security demands of French citizens who do business in Mexico.
War is over. The French left Mexico on March 9. There were not many casualties in the three and a half month war. However, due to lack of trade in the port, the Mexican government deprived of a large amount of revenue.
Although the French naval power is not the same as British, but close to them, France gives that message to the world through this war. The French navy welcomed as a hero into the country.
Interestingly, Mexico agreed to pay 6,000,00 pesos but did not pay the full amount in the end. They Paid a minimal amount. When France invaded Mexico for the second time in 1861, France cited not paying the dues as one of the Reason.
The pastry war – This is all happened because of robbing that pastry shop!
After-effects of the pastry war
The pastry war consequence impacts Mexico economy and politics severely. Mexico’s week economy damaged because of this foolish war.
Second French Mexico war in 1861 was also a consequence of this pastry war. Later Mexico needs to face another Mexican-American war with its fragile economy.
Mexico’s politics also shaped because of pastry war. Santa anna gains political power and elected as president of Mexico for the heroic act in the First Franco-Mexican War, although he needs to sacrifice one of his legs.
Later Mexico needs to repair Veracruz port cause it was damaged fully during the war also lost a significant amount of trade tax.