Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín

Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín, (March 24, 1829 – September 8, 1862) was a general in the Mexican army, best known for defeating invading French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862 (now celebrated in both the United States and Mexico as the Cinco de Mayo).
Zaragoza was born in the early Mexican Texas village of Bahía del Espíritu Santo (now Goliad, Texas, in the United States) in what was then the Mexican state of Coahuila y Texas.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignacio_Zaragoza

When “Cinco de Mayo” is mentioned in Mexico, one of the most symbolic battles in the Mexican collective unconscious immediately comes to mind: the Battle of Puebla.  General Ignacio Zaragoza, with only a small army, took on the powerful French forces of Napoleon III during the Second French Intervention.

Ignacio Zaragoza Seguin was born on March 24, 1829 in the city of Presidio de La Bahia de Espiritu Santo, now Goliad, in southern Texas, USA. He was the second son of the marriage between Miguel Zaragoza and Maria de Jesus Valdez  Martinez Seguin.

When he was five years old, after the independence of Texas, his family moved to  Matamoros in Tamaulipas state, where he began his studies and ten years later he moved to Monterrey, Nuevo Leon.

For several years he leaned toward the priesthood, but then left, perhaps to continue the example of his father, who was an infantryman.

During the United States intervention in Mexico between 1846 and 1848,young  Zaragoza tried to enlist as a cadet, but was rejected.

He saw, however, from a distance, how Mexico lost more than half of its territory in an unequal war.  It was not until 1853 that he managed to enter the Nuevo Leon army, first as a sergeant, then later as captain of his regiment. In 1854, he decided to join the Plan de Ayutla, a movement that attempted to overthrow the dictator Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna.  article continues.
http://www.inside-mexico.com/historia/ignaciozaragoza.htm

ignacio-zaragoza-500-pesos-2008-2

image of Ignacio Zaragoza on a 500 pesos Mexico banknote – 2008 – Photo: Joseph A. Tyson

Statue of General Ignacio Zaragoza in San Agustin Plaza in the downtown historic district of Laredo, Texas. Attribution: Billy Hathorn http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Billy_Hathorn

Statue of General Ignacio Zaragoza in San Agustin Plaza in the downtown historic district of Laredo, Texas. Attribution: Billy Hathorn / wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Billy_Hathorn