Trujillo, Honduras

From Academic Kids

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Flag of Trujillo

Trujillo is a city in northeastern Honduras along the Caribbean coast. It is the capital of the Department of Colón. The town, with a population of about 30,000 (2003, incl. the surrounding area), is located on a bluff overlooking the Bay of Trujillo. Behind the city rise two prominent mountains, Mount Capira and Mount Calentura. Three Garifuna fishing villages--Santa Fe, San Antonio, and Guadelupe--are located along the beach.

History

It is believed that Christopher Columbus landed in Trujillo on August 14, 1502, during his final voyage to the Americas. It was the first time he touched the American mainland. He noticed that the water in this part of the Caribbean was very deep and therefore called the area Golfo de Honduras, i.e., The Gulf of the Depths (see: Bay of Honduras).

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The history of the modern town begins in 1524, shortly after the conquest of Mexico by Hernán Cortés. Cortés sent Cristóbal de Olid to found a Spanish outpost in the region, and he established a town named Triunfo de la Cruz in the vicinity. When Olid began using the town as the basis for establishing his own realm in Central America, Cortés sent Francisco de las Casas to remove him. Las Casas lost most of his fleet in a storm, but he was nevertheless able to defeat Olid and restore the region to Cortés. Upon assuming control, Las Casas decided to relocate the town to its present location, because the natural harbor was larger. At the same time, Trinufo de la Cruz was renamed Trujillo. His deputy, Juan Lopez de Aguirre was charged with establishing the new town, but he sailed off, leaving another deputy, named Medina, to found the town.

Cortés himself visited the town shortly after, during a campaign to suppress the internecine fighting between his followers. It was he who sent ships to established colonies Spanish colonies in Jamaica and Cuba for saplings, seed, and domesticated animals that could be raised there. In the coming years, however, Trujillo became more important as a shipment point for gold and silver mined in the interior of the country. Because of its sparse population, the city also became a frequent target of pirates.

Under Spanish rule Trujillo became the capital of Honduras, but because of its vulerability the capital was changed to the inland town of Comayagua. The fortress, Fortaleza de Santa Bárbara (El Castillo), which sits on the bluff overlooking the bay, was apparently built by the Spanish in about 1550. Nevertheless, it was inadequate to really defend Trujillo from pirates--the largest gathering of pirates in history took place in the vicinity in 1683--or rival colonial powers: the Dutch, French, and English. The town was destroyed several times between 1633 and 1797, and during the eighteenth century, the Spanish all but abandoned Trujillo because it was deemed indefensible.

When Honduras obtained its independence in 1820, Trujillo lost its status of capital permanently to Tegucigalpa. From this same period onwards Trujillo also began to prosper again.

In 1860, the mercenary William Walker, who had seized control of neighboring Nicaragua, was finally caught and executed in Trujillo. His tomb is a local tourist attraction.

Further reading

nl:Trujillo (Honduras)

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