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Colima History

Colima (koh-LEE-mah) is a state in western Mexico. It shares its name with its capital and main city, Colima. Colima is a small state, sharing a border with the Mexican states of Jalisco to the north and east, and Michoacán to the south. To the west Colima borders the Pacific Ocean. In addition to the capital city of Colima, the state's main cities include Manzanillo and Tecomán. The state has an area of 5,455 square kilometers (2,106.2 sq mi), with a population in 2010 census of about 650,555 people.

The name "Colima" itself echoes the tradition: from the Nahuatl "collimaitl" (colli = ancestors or volcano, and maitl = domain of). The state territory also includes the Archipelago of Revillagigedo, consisting of the islands of Benito Juarez, Clarión, San Benedicto, and Roca Partida.

Manzanillo, Mexico is located in the state of Colima on Mexico's Golden Riviera, between Puerto Vallarta and Acapulco on the Pacific coast. Manzanillo has become one of the country's most important tourist resorts, and its excellent hotels and restaurants continue to meet the demands of both national and international tourists, with a year-round average temperature of 27 degrees C (80 F), it has the best climate of the West Coast, dryer than Puerto Vallarta and cooler than Acapulco. Manzanillo Mexico consists of two bays with crescent-shaped Beaches, each about 4-miles in length.

Manzanillo Colima Bays

Early History

Little is known about Colima's early history except that the Otomi, Nahuatl, Tolteca, Chichimeca and Tarasca cultures flourished there between approximately 2000 B.C and 1000 A.D.

Cortez Route

Long an outpost for the pre-Columbian Tarascan peoples, Manzanillo was an important port during the early days of Spanish conquest. The manzanilla trees in the area around Manzanillo Bay were felled to construct Spanish ships used in expeditions along the Pacific coast and to the Far East. It is said that Chinese trading vessels stopped at Tlacotla.

Hernando Cortez

In 1522, Cortez sent his lieutenants to conquer Pacific Mexico. Manzanillo was originally called "Tlacotla," meaning "the place of the conch shells," and was occupied by the Tarascan people. At the time of the Spanish conquest of Mexico, the Tarascan state was the second largest state in Mexico. It was founded in the early 14th century. The Tarascans, upon hearing the fate of the Aztecs, capitulated to the Spanish in 1522.

Gonzalo de Sandoval

In 1522, Gonzalo de Sandoval dropped anchor in the Bay of Salagua (current Port), located north of Manzanillo Bay, on his quest for safe harbors and good shipbuilding sites. He remained in the area for a year. During his stay, he granted an audience to local Indian chieftains in a small cove, which today is known as Playa de la Audiencia.

When the Spanish arrived in the area around 1525, much of West Mexico was under the political control of the Kingdom of Tzintuntzan, which was the second largest and most powerful Mesoamerican Empire. Its influence stretched from the state of Mexico into Guanajuato, around the shores of Lake Chapala and through part of Colima to the Pacific coast. The Purépechas, known as the Tarascans by the Spanish conquistadors, occupied the area from about 1100 A.D. to 1530 A.D. along with the Colimas Indians, who are closely related to the Tarascas. King Colimán, the leader of the Colimas, waged a successful war against the Purépechas just before the Spanish arrived, forcing the Purépechas to the southern part of the region.

Relief Sculpture in Colima, Mexico
A relief sculpture depicting the conquistador Gonzalo de Sandoval receiving a gift from the king of Colima, Mexico in 1521.

Led by Juan Rodriguez de Villafuentes, Juan Alvarez Chico and Cristobal de Olid, the Spanish arrived at Colima in 1522. King Colimán, recognizing the threat presented by the conquistadors, resisted the incursion. The indigenous forces initially won battles at Trojes, Paso de Alima and Toluca, but in 1523 they lost a decisive battle against Gonzalo de Sandoval at Caxitlán. Sandoval immediately established a Spanish settlement, San Sebastián de Colima, in what is now the city of Colima. In 1524, Don Francisco Cortés de Buenaventura arrived and became the city's first mayor.

Rey de Coliman Monument
Image copyright MexicoenFotos.com

Alvaro de Saavedra The land was divided into parcels which are now Minatitlán, Comala, Coquimatlán. The Spaniards constructed a road between Colima and Mexico City in 1540. The route quickly made Colima a vital center of commerce. With the port in Manzanillo centrally located on the Pacific Coast, it played a large role in transporting goods for the King of Spain.

Manzanillo Bay was discovered in 1527 by navigator Alvaro de Saavedra, christening it Santiago de la Buena Esperanza, or Santiago's Bay of Good Hope. Upon hearing a rumor that a Portuguese fleet was lurking in the nearby waters, Cortez made his first of two visits to Manzanillo Bay in search of his foes. His forces massed at the northern end of the bay, which he named Bahia de Santiago, on July 24, 1535.

Manzanillo Bay was used as a departure point for Spanish expeditions to Baja California and northern Mexico. The forest of manzanilla and other hardwood trees in the area were used by the Spanish to build ships here, in what became Latin America's first shipyard. These ships were used in Spanish expeditions to the Philippines and other Far Eastern countries.

The threat of pirates was ever-present, and ships of the Spanish fleet used Manzanillo's port to hide from the freebooters. Manzanillo was on the main trading route from Acapulco west to the Philippines, and south from Peru. The pirates, hailing from Portugal, England, Holland and France, did make several forays into Manzanillo Bay, where they brazenly attacked Spanish vessels.

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Address: Privada Los Naranjos #30, Santiago, Manzanillo, Colima, Mexico  28860
Phone in the USA direct to the shop in MX: 909-266-0271
Phone Internationally to MX: 011-52-314-334-6394
Phone from MX: 314-334-6394
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