Founding of Central America
Pedro de Alvarado, who was to become governor of Guatemala, travels from Spain to Santo Domingo (now known as the Dominican Republic).
Alvarado accompanies Juan de Grijalva (who was to die in 1527 in Honduras), nephew of Diego Velázquez, governor of Cuba and a rival of Hernán Cortés, to explore the Yucatán Peninsula with 4 ships and about 200 men.
Alvarado accompanies the army from Cuba led by Hernán Cortés, from Cozumel to Campeche to Veracruz.
Among the atrocities committed by Cortés were:
- burning Indians alive and in public to prevent others from resisting the Spanish
- mutilating and executing his own men when he suspected or determined mutiny and rebellion, and mutilating captured Indians to send messages back to their home tribes
- massacring not just combatant warriors, but also non-combatant “civilian” men, women and children
- destroying existing systems of government, economics, and religion in the name of higher political and religious powers
When the Aztecs gather in a square to celebrate a festival, Alvarado fears an uprising and orders his men to strike, massacring 200 Aztec chiefs.
Upon his return, Cortés is incensed to find this action has made the conquest more difficult and plans a retreat.
June 30, 1520
He leads an expedition to present-day El Salvador, overcoming a Nahua tribe, the Pipil, that occupied much of the region west of the Lempa River, pushes on to Pipil capital of Cuscatlán, and soon returns to Guatemala.