A poor mule was apparently the sole casualty of a battle during the Spanish-American War.
So his (or her?) sacrifice is remembered as mantanzas mule day.
On April 27, 1898, American naval forces bombarded the village of Matanzas in Cuba.
American newspapers ran sensational headlines:
American Guns Boom Liberty to Spanish Ears
Spanish Forts Fall Before Us
Demolished Matanzas in eighteen minutes
Cuban General Governor Blanco set the record straight in a cable to Madrid.
The only Spanish casualty was a mule.
One journalist began using the phrase “mantanzas mule” as shorthand for a doubtful fact.
As the story goes, the mantanzas mule was buried with full military honors.
A band was playing and (s)he had hundreds of mourners.
Some people claim it was all just made up, intended to humiliate the Americans.
Siobhan O’Shea is a freelance writer. She writes about pretty much everything but especially likes to bring readers’ attention to new tech, marketing, human behavior, and other oddities.