The origin of Manzanillo

By Horacio Archundia Guevara, historian of Manzanillo

On the morning of July 25, 1527, on the eve of the celebration of Santo Santiago Apóstol (El Mayor), the Bergantín “Espíritu Santo”, commanded by Captain Pedro de Fuentes, and who was part of the navy of three ships that left the port of Zacatula, in the present state of Guerrero, commanded by Alvaro de Saavedra Cerón, cousin of Don Hernando Cortés, beaten by a terrible bore arrived at the indigenous port of Tzalahua, finding a generous welcome by the natives, because they were “very good people, and gave us water, and fruit and chickens, and of what they had there”, as recounted by the chronicler of the expedition in the Relationship of Navigation of the Bergantín of Zacatula”, which is located at the Archivo General de Indias in Seville, Spain.

Grateful to have survived the storm, travelers christened the indigenous village as “Santiago de Buena Esperanza.”

Santo Santiago El Mayor

Saavedra and his ships were on their way to the Moluccas Islands, in search of the Navy of Fray García de Loaysa, who in 1525, looking for the mythical Islands of Species, was lost in the ocean sea to never return, as would happen with the “Holy Spirit” of which nothing was ever known again.

Tzalahua would be called Santiago in those days; he was then relocated to the site of the present city in 1825 with the name imposed on him from 1788 by Antón López de Cascos and ratified the Real Empadronador Coronel Diego de Lazaga in 1793: Ensenada de Las Manzanillas. The name would be masculinized in the early nineteenth century called El Manzanillo, and the article would be deleted at the beginning of the twentieth century, naming it only Manzanillo. The town of Santiago is not the site discovered by the Spaniards but the village located around the hacienda that received that name from its owner, Arturo Meillón Ochoa, son of Carlos Meillón Cañedo and Clara Ochoa de Meillón.

The original Santiago existed on the ruins of the Tzalahua village, in the present-day lands of the Santiago Peninsula, where today, after the great archaeological devastation of the sixties, seventies and eighties, the hotels Las Hadas, Tesoro and Barceló were built.

Today, 493 years of the discovery of our beloved Manzanillo.

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