Cinco de Mayo - The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

22 minutes
Produced by: Educational Video Network
This film is aimed at the North American secondary school audience. It effectively explains the
historical context of the two most celebrated days in the modern Mexican calendar: 16th of
September (Independence Day) and the 5th of May. These two days are celebrated in Mexico as
reminders of the struggle for Mexican independence and the many people who fought and died
to maintain Mexican sovereignty.
Pre-viewing activities:
 Recount the story of the independence of the United States. Why did the Americans
want to be independent from the British? How did the struggle begin?
How significant is nationalism in wars of independence? Can you think of examples of
battles in which a superior invading army was defeated by a smaller force defending the
Post-viewing activities:
 What is the difference in significance of Cinco de Mayo and 16 de Septiembre to
Mexicans? Outline the differences in historical events and their significance to
How does the way that the Mexicans celebrate their day of independence differ from or
resemble the way you celebrate on the Fourth of July? What are the central activities of
each celebration?
What celebrated stories of the US independence movement correspond to the Grito de
Is there any day that the US celebrates “defending the country” that is similar to Cinco de
How is the story of Mexican independence passed on from generation to generation?
How do Mexican schoolchildren celebrate Independence?
Possible composition topics:
The nineteenth century was a very dynamic period in Latin American history. It was
during this time that many of Spain’s colonies won their independence. Research how the
Mexican independence movement relates to the decay of the Spanish Empire as a whole.
What other countries were struggling for independence and who led these struggles? What
did each country hope to gain by becoming a sovereign state?
Mexico fought hard for many years to gain its independence from Spain. Research the
years immediately following the war. Once the war was won, how did the leaders of Mexico
construct a new state? What problems would the new government have to deal with? How
did they deal with these issues?
How to Borrow this Video:
The videos owned by the UNC-Duke Consortium in Latin American and Caribbean Studies are
housed in the Outreach Office of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. They are lent
free of charge. For information on films and reservations, please visit