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It's called the 'Pastry War'

Updated on March 11, 2023

Little Lost History

There was a time when Texas was not part of the United States. It was its own country.

There was a time Mexico was rising and became a place to invest. Many of ex-pats arrived to open businesses in Mexico's brand new cities.

There was a short war no one thinks about that occurred in 1838. This war passed into History as the 'Pastry War', and has become no more than a footnote.


In the early 1800s Mexico was an up and coming nation. It was a dynamic developing nation. There were power struggles as people from all over Europe arrived, opened businesses and prospered.

Although it might seem fantasy, at the start of the 19th Century Mexico was a churning cauldron of nationalities. It was believed that it would become a major world power.

Politics was often fought with guns. There was civil unrest as capitalists strove to create their bases.

By 1828 the situation reached the breaking point.

The President of Mexico, Manuel Gómez Pedraza, fired Lorenzo de Zavala from his post as Governor of the state of México.

Zavala was not pleased.
And he could do something about it.

He gained the support of Antonio López de Santa Anna, a General. This meant the army would join his side against the President.

For four days there was fighting in the busy streets of Mexico City. A great deal of property was destroyed. Some of it belonged to foreign nationals.

There were no diplomats to effect any kind of settlement and most of the ex-pats accepted the loss.

Most ex pats, but not a French pastry chef, Monsieur Remontel.

The Chef appealed to King Louis-Phillipe of France. He advised that his shop in the Tacubaya district of Mexico City had been ruined by looting Mexican officers in 1828.

At the time, communication was quite slow between Mexico and the rest of the world. It was not until 1838, ten years later, the King of France demanded 600,000 pesos in damages on behalf of all French nationals who had suffered loss due the Mexican confusion.

Baron Deffaudis conveyed this ultimatum to Mexico; pay or else.

The payment was not made.


The King of France did not take the situation lightly. He didn't bluster or boast or make threats. He sent a fleet under Rear Admiral Charles Baudin.

A Blockade was declared of all Mexican ports from Yucatán to the Rio Grande. The vessels bombarded the Mexican fortress of San Juan de Ulúa, and seized the port of Veracruz.

Fighting continued until the entire Mexican Navy was captured at Veracruz by the French.

In December 1838 Mexico declared war on France!


With official trade cut off, the Mexicans had no choice but to begin smuggling their products into Corpus Christi, Texas.

At the time, Texas was an independent republic. Texas was NOT yet a state. It was its very own country with its own laws.

With Mexico smuggling goods into Texas, thwarting the blockade, and France being one of the most powerful nations in the world, those who resided in Texas got a bit worried.

They were afraid that France would blockade Texan ports. The Texans decided to form a battalion which would patrol Corpus Christi Bay and stop Mexican smugglers.

At this point, another country, The United States, decided to enter the fray. The United States sent the schooner, the Woodbury, to help the French in their blockade of Mexico.

The Texans, examinging the World situation decided to enter negotiations with France and form treaties.

It was agreed that the French Kingdom would not offend the soil or waters of the Republic of Texas. That Texas would do what it could to prevent Mexican offending the Blockade.

Then Great Britain intervened to make peace.

The United Kingdom was able to get President Bustamante, (who had replaced the previous leader of Mexico) to promise to pay the 600,000 pesos.

At this, French forces withdrew.

On 9 March 1839 the Pastry War ended.

Halls of Montezuma

This war is unknown to most people, (as is the Tripolitan War.)

The only reference to these combats is in the Marine Hymn...

"From the Halls of Montezuma to the Shores of Tripoli"

The result of this war is that Mexico never became a world power, it never became a hub of capitalists.

Although minor in World Events, it was devastating to Mexico.


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