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Another unusual war caused by a relatively minor dispute was the Pastry War from 1838-1839 between the French and Mexican armies.

A French pastry chef named Remontel was the focus of the large-scale conflict. In 1828 during a military coup in Mexico, angry mobs destroyed large parts of Mexico City, and Remontel’s shop was ransacked by looters. After his complaints were rejected by Mexican officials, Remontel asked the French Government for 60,000 pesos (a hefty sum at the time) as compensation for the robbery. For a decade, his petition went unchecked, but when King of France Louis-Philippe saw the petition in 1838, he also saw an excuse to exact revenge on Mexico, and unexpectedly declared war using Remontel’s claim as the basis.

Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, former president and Mexico’s most prestigious war hero, came out of retirement to aid Mexico in military operations against the French. In the ensuing conflict, Anna lost his leg, and would later eloquently use the situation of his war wound to catapult himself back into power.

The so-called Pastry War ended in 1839, with Mexico agreeing to give France the 600,000 pesos now demanded by the French as compensation for Remontel and many other Frenchmen who were robbed. Mexico’s subsequent failure to pay the 600,000 pesos was one of the causes of the second French intervention into Mexico in 1861.

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