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Pedro de Alvarado

Pedro de Alvarado (1495-1541) was perhaps the most famous of the conquistadores. Originally from Spain, he set out on a quest for adventure and wealth and later joined Hernan Cortez in his exploits in Mexico. As an officer in the army, Alvarado distinguished himself by his military ability. Notoriously ruthless, he employed methods of brutality such as hanging, burning and even fed men to dogs. In 1524 he set his sights south and moved his forces into Guatemala. There he was met with resistance from the indigenous K’iche nation. By allying himself with their historic rivals the Ckchiquel nation, he eventually succeeded in his conquest. In reward he was named Governor of the newly acquired lands and founded the first city of Guatemala, located near to what is now known as Antigua.

However, years later in an attack near Guadalajara, the conqueror then become the conquered when the horse that he was riding lost its footing and he was crushed beneath it. He died from his injuries a few days later and was buried in a church in Tiripetio. Upon hearing news of her husband’s death, his wife Don-a Beatriz, stained the entire palace (inside and out) black with clay to illustrate the magnitude of her grief. In the midst of her mourning, she appointed herself as the new governor, thus becoming the first woman to rule in the Americas. Unfortunately her rule was short lived when on the night of her inauguration an earthquake occurred causing a mudslide that covered the entire palace, burying her alive inside of it and destroying the city. Many believed that her staining of the palace black was in fact a bad omen that in the end both predicted and determined her untimely fate.

Over forty years after her father’s death, Leonor Alvarado Xicotencatl had her father remains exhumed and transported from Mexico to Guatemala, where he is now buried in the Cathedral de Santiago in Antigua.

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Antigua: Services, Accommodation Summary, Laundry, Antigua and around - Things to see and do and Tours.

By Kaylie Jensen
I am an outgoing, adventurous individual. I am passionate about both writing and travel. It is my dream to travel the world, and to experience all of...
01 Sep 2009

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