MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico marked the anniversary of the first serious defeat suffered by Spanish conquistadores on Mexican soil Thursday, amid the 500th anniversary commemorations of the 1519-1521 Conquest.
The March 25, 1517 battle of Champotón actually pre-dated the arrival of conquistador Hernán Cortés two years later.
The 1517 expedition led by Francisco Hernandez de Córdoba sailed around the Yucatán peninsula and landed at Champotón, on Mexico’s Gulf coast, looking for fresh water. They were met by Chontal Maya Indigenous warriors who attacked the Europeans, inflicting wounds that eventually killed about 50 Spaniards, including Hernández de Córdoba.
Known by the Spaniards as “the Bad Battle,” Mexico now wants to call it “The Good Battle,” similar to the approach the government has taken in renaming famous Conquest sites originally named by Spaniards.
For example, the tree that marked a famous defeat of Cortés in 1520 was known as the Tree of the Sad Night, but Mexico City officials now call it the Tree of the Victorious Night.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador presided over a ceremony and a re-enactment marking the 504th anniversary of the battle, accompanied by Bolivian President Luís Arce.
“Honor to all our Indigenous brothers who gave their lives for the sovereignty of our territory,” Arce said.
López Obrador said “this ceremony is an homage to the anonymous heroes of the Indigenous resistance who resisted as long as they could the three centuries of oppression under the colonial regime.”
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