Pedro Pt 1
Pedro de Alvarado
El Capitan Pedro de Alvarado y Contreras was a Spanish conquistador and governor of Guatemala. He is the namesake of our Spanish School here in Antigua. He is considered the conquistador of most of Central America (El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras). Although renowned for his skill as a soldier, Alvarado is also known for his cruelty to the native populations and mass murders committed in Mexico. History portrays that indigenous people, both Nahuatl-speakers and speakers of other languages, called him Tonatiuh, meaning "sun". Yet he was also called "Red Sun", which allows a variety of interpretations. Whether this epithet refers to Don Alvarado's red hair, some esoteric quality attributed to him, or both, is disputed.
Early life: Pedro de Alvarado was born in approximately 1485, in the town of Badajoz, in Extremadura, Spain. He was the son of Diego Gómez de Alvarado y Mexía de Sandoval, born in Badajoz in 1460, who was also the Commander of Lobón, Puebla, Montijo and Cubillana, Alcalde of Montanchez, Trece of the Order of Santiago, Lord of Castellanos, a Maestresala official instructor of Henry IV of Castile and General of the Frontier of Portugal. Pedro de Alvarado's mother was Diego's second wife, Leonor de Contreras y Gutiérrez de Trejo. His first wife, Teresa Suárez de Moscoso y Figueroa, had died two years before.
Americas: Alvarado went to Hispaniola in 1510 with all his younger brothers: Gonzalo, Jorge, Gómez, Hernando and Juan, and their uncle Diego de Alvarado y Mexía de Sandoval. He held a command in the Juan de Grijalva expedition sent from Cuba against Yucatán in the spring of 1518, and returned in a few months, bearing reports of the wealth and splendour of Moctezuma II's empire.
Expedition to Mexico: In 1519 Alvarado accompanied Hernán Cortés in his expedition to Mexico, commanding one of the eleven vessels in the fleet and also acting as Cortés' second in command during the expedition's first stay in the Aztec capital city of Tenochtitlán. Relations between the Spaniards and their hosts were uneasy, especially given Cortés' repeated insistence that the Aztecs desist from idol worship and human sacrifice; in order to ensure their own safety, the Spaniards took the Aztec king Moctezuma hostage. When Cortés returned to the Gulf coast to deal with the newly arrived hostile expedition of Pánfilo de Narváez, Alvarado remained in Tenochtitlan as commander of the Spanish enclave, with strict orders to make sure that Moctezuma not be permitted to escape. During Cortés' absence, relations between the Spaniards and their hosts went from bad to worse, and Alvarado ordered a preemptive slaughter of Aztec nobles and priests observing a religious festival. When Cortés returned to Tenochtitlan, he found the Spanish force under siege. After Moctezuma was killed in the attempt to negotiate with his own people, the Spaniards determined to escape by fighting their way across one of the causeways that led from the city across the lake and to the mainland. In a bloody nocturnal action on the 1st of July 1520, known as La Noche Triste, Alvarado led the rear-guard and was badly wounded. According to some sources, Alvarado used his lance to vault across a gap in the causeway; this feat has come to be known as the Salto de Alvarado ("Alvarado's Leap").
ALL IN ALL This is one of those odd blogs that has played up, so done in two parts