Acapulco Mexico

 

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Acapulco Mexico history



Acapulco has been well known as a traveler's crossroads for at least a millennium. Its name is Nahuatl, meaning "plain of dense reeds." The earliest local remains, stone metates and pottery utensils, were left in the 3rd millennium BC. Much later, sophisticated artisans fashioned curvaceous female figurines. Some hypothesize that there was early Polynesian or Asian influences in Pacific Mexico as early as 1500 years before the arrival Christopher Columbus.


Other artifacts resemble those found in highland Mexico. Although influenced by Tarascan, Mixtec, Zapotec, and Aztec civilizations, sometimes paying tribute to them and frequented by their traders, Acapulco never came under their direct control, but instead remained subject to local caciques until the Spanish conquest.


After conquering the Aztecs, Hernán Cortés sent expeditions south to build ships and find a route to China. The first explorers sailed from Zacatula, near present-day Lázaro Cárdenas, Michoacán, on the coast 400 km (250 miles) north-west of Acapulco. By a royal decree dated April 25, 1528, "Acapulco and her land ... where the ships of the south will be built...." passed directly into the hands of the Spanish Crown. Voyages of discovery set sail from Acapulco for Peru, the Sea of Cortez, and to Asia. None returned across the Pacific, however, until Augustinian priest Andrés de Urdaneta discovered the northern Pacific tradewinds, which propelled him and his ship, loaded with Chinese treasure, to Acapulco in 1565.


For more than 200 years after that, a special yearly trading ship, known to the English as the Manila Galleon, set sail from Acapulco for the Manila and the Orient. Its return started an annual merchant fair in Acapulco where traders bargained for the Galleon's cargo of silks, porcelain, ivory, and lacquerware. This trade connection, which persisted up to Mexican independence, was instrumental in placing the Philippines on the east side of the International Date Line until the end of 1844.


Acapulco's yearly treasure soon attracted marauders, too. In 1579, Francis Drake attacked but failed to capture the Galleon, but in 1587, off Cabo San Lucas, Thomas Cavendish seized the Santa Anna. The cash alone, 1.2 million gold pesos, severely depressed the London bullion market.


After a Dutch fleet invaded Acapulco in 1615, the Spanish rebuilt their fort, which they christened Fort San Diego in 1617. Destroyed by an earthquake in 1776, the fort was rebuilt by 1783. The War of Independence (1820-21) stopped the Manila Galleon forever, sending Acapulco into a century-long slumber.


The town suffered considerably from earthquakes in July and August 1909.


Miguel Aleman Valdes was the President of Mexico who put so much in the modernization and development of Acapulco. He did so much not only as President but also as the Head of Mexico's National Tourist Commission after he left office. Acapulco became a popular tourist destination for Europeans after 1920.

 

In the 1950s, after successful efforts to build the city's infrastructure including numerous resort hotels, Acapulco became a vacation destination for the rich and famous of Hollywood and across the world. In the 1960s and 70s, a greater range of accommodations were built to make it more affordable for vacationers. And in the 1990s, a road was built from Mexico City, enabling vacationers from all over Mexico to enjoy this beautiful resort city.



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