The 9th of March marks the end of the Pastry War between Mexico and France.
Treat yourself to a pastry!
The war started in the spring of 1838. A French pastry chef, Monsieur Remontel, who had come to Veracruz, Mexico and set up a pastry shop, lodged an appeal with King Louis-Philippe (1773 – 1850) in 1838 for compensation for damages to his store caused by Mexican soldiers in 1828. He asked the Mexican government for 600,000 pesos to cover the damages caused by their soldiers; the Mexican government turned him down. Though Remontel’s claim was greatly exaggerated, in the French mind this was another example of a number of occasions when foreign investors in Mexico had been denied compensation by the Mexican government (as were Mexican citizens as well) for damages caused during civil unrest resulting from various overthrows of government. Mexico was also in default on millions and millions of dollars worth of loans from France.
French Baron Beffaudis gave Mexico an ultimatum to pay the damages claimed by Remontel, but Mexico just didn’t have the money. Not that the French government was lily-white, either: France had just been through decades of war, revolutions, coups and upheavals, and hadn’t been exactly shelling out compensation itself. So, Mexican President Anastasio Bustamante (1780 – 1853) ignored the ultimatum.
This time, France decided to teach Mexico a lesson. In April 1838, a French fleet under French Admiral Charles Baudin arrived and blockaded the coast of Mexico on the Caribbean side from the Yucatán up to the Rio Grande, and captured almost all the Mexican navy. Later, in November, French ships fired on the fortress at called “San Juan de Ulúa” at Veracruz, Mexico, and occupied the city on 28 November, with 30,000 French soldiers overall in Mexico.
The war went on for a few months over the course of the winter, with a few skirmishes, and Mexico plunging deeper into (even more dire) economic crisis, until eventually British diplomatic intervention extracted a promise in March of 1839 from Mexican President Bustamante to see that the damages were paid.
Called “Guerra de los pasteles” in Mexico.