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The Pastry War: The First French Intervention in Mexico

The Pastry War took place from 1838 to 1839

The Pastry War: The First French Intervention in Mexico
It was the first conflict between Mexico and France - Photo: File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
English 16/04/2020 14:26 EL UNIVERSAL in English/Miranda Perea Mexico City Actualizada 13:44
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The Pastry War, a minor conflict between Mexico and France, took place from 1838 to 1839.

The conflict arose from the claim of a French pastry cook, whose last name was Remontel and who lived in Tacubaya, a neighborhood in Mexico City,  that some Mexican army officers had damaged his restaurant and had eaten all the pastries.

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Remontel went to the French ambassador in Mexico, baron Deffaudis, to ask him for France’s support in the request for compensation but did not receive the answer he expected.

However, the conflict escalated quickly as more French people in Mexico began denouncing looting and damages to their businesses during the Revolution and other conflicts and compensation claims increased.

A number of foreign powers had been pressing the Mexican government without success to pay for losses that some of their nationals claimed they had suffered during several years of civil disturbances.

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France decided to back up the request for MXN $600,000 by sending a fleet to Veracruz, the principal Mexican port on the Gulf of Mexico.

After bombarding the San Juan de Ulúa fortress, located on a reef outside the harbor, and occupying the city on April 16, 1838, the French won a guarantee of payment through the good offices of Great Britain and withdrew their fleet on March 9, 1839.

The most important domestic result of the Pastry War was the further enhancement of the prestige and political influence of the Mexican dictator Antonio Lòpez de Santa Anna, who had assumed command of the Mexican army and lost a leg in the fight.

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