About Fort Loreto
Fort Loreto (Fuerte de Loreto) is an 18th century fortress and one of the sites where the famous Battle of Puebla was fought. This battle, which took place on 5 May 1862, marked a great victory for the Mexicans over the invading French army. In fact, it is celebrated every year with the festival of Cinco de Mayo (Fifth of May), often mistaken for Mexico’s Independence Day.
Fort Loreto history
Initially built as a religious shrine in the 1600s, it was fortified during the independence movement two centuries later.
Fort Loreto stands today as a reminder of an integral part of Mexican military history when the country’s small army defeated a much larger French invader. The momentous battles took place here and in Fort Guadalupe in 1862, with victory remembered each year during the famous Cinco de Mayo holiday.
The Battle of Puebla was fought on May 5, 1862 in the vicinity of the city of Puebla, between the armies of the Mexican Republic, under the command of Ignacio Zaragoza, and the Second French Empire, led by Charles Ferdinand Latrille, Count of Lorencez, during the Second French Intervention in Mexico.
The Mexican forces managed to defeat one of the most experienced and respected armies of their time. Despite its success, the battle did not prevent the invasion of the country, it only delayed it. With the exception of the Grito de Dolores, the commemoration of the Battle of Puebla is the most significant date in the Mexican civic calendar, as it is one of the few victories against an invading foreign army.
In 1930 the forts and the area surrounding the hill were declared property of the nation at the service of the people, and a War Museum was built in Loreto. Since 1972, Fort Loreto has served as the Museum of Non-Intervention. It explores Mexico’s history under the French, including the Battle of Puebla, displaying letters, paintings, flags and documents as well as weaponry and uniforms from the time. It goes on to explore the premiership of Benito Juarez, Mexico’s first president.
Fort Loreto today
This museum consists of a single floor and the permanent exhibition is divided into seven rooms, beginning with the one dedicated to the chapel of the Virgin of Loreto. It continues with a route that has as its central axis the role played by the Fort of Loreto in the different armed struggles that occurred in Mexico, from Independence to the Restoration of the Republic, without neglecting the representation of military architecture and some features of daily life in our country in certain periods of the 19th century.
Getting to Fort Loreto
Fort Loreto and the neighbouring Fort Guadalupe are in the northeastern part of Puebla, about a 2.5mile drive from the Centro district. The forts stand in the Centro Civico Cinco de Mayo beside the Parque Paseo del Teleferico. Take a bus to one of the stops along the main highway adjacent to the fort.