History of Zihuatanejo

Zihuatanejo means place of women and it was a site ruled by the Aztecs. With the Spanish arrival, the place became more important due to fishing and commerce. In the 20th. Century, Zihuatanejo stood out because of tourism and it still keeps its color

Zihuatanejo means place of women and it was a site ruled by the Aztecs. With the Spanish arrival, the place became more important due to fishing and commerce. In the 20th. Century, Zihuatanejo stood out because of tourism and it still keeps its colorful and traditional atmosphere.

Zihuatanejo is the Spanish interpretation of the name that Aztecs gave to this land. The original name is Cihuatlan and it is the outcome of the union of two different words: “cihua” which means woman, and “tlan”, which means place of. Therefore, Cihuatlan mens place of women.

In spite of legends, what is true is that Aztecs called conquered lands after generic names coming from their own way to see and interpret the world. For them, women who died during labor were considered warriors fell in the battle and, therefore, they were object of great honours, like devoting seized towns to them. Thus, there were many Cihuatlan within the Aztec Empire. Nonetheless, the one on the coast of Guerrero was the most important, due to the abundance of fishing and hunting.

Aztecs conquered Zihuatanejo area, at that time inhabitated by Purepechas, in one of the famous Flower Wars, around year 1480. The name that Aztec gave to Purepechas was Michoaques, which means those of the land of fish. The word evolved to name current Mexican state Michoacan. Before Aztec conquest, Zihuatanejo already traded with people in the center of the country, first with Teotihuacans and later with Aztecs. The latter obviously had a greed for these commercial relationships. In the Museum of Zihuatanejo codes with tracks of this commerce can be seen.

When Spanish conquerors arrived to Zihuatanejo, they seized the bay to found a port that was named Ciguatan, which was a modification of the indigenous word. During the period known as the Colony, this port was very important. Many expeditions toward the South Pacific Ocean as well as comercial journey to the Philippines departed from here. Beach known as Wood Beach has kept its name, due to the main product traded on it during the 17th and 18th Centuries.

Time later, other ports gained importance and Zihuatanejo became a peaceful fishermen village. Therefore, the name started to appear in some maps with the Spanish suffix "ejo" indicating small or little importance. However, the name Zihuatanejo appeared with its current spelling at the beginning of the 19th Century. The reason was the application of spelling rules dictated in Spain on indigenous names; it was just after the Independence War started in 1810.

Nowadays, Zihuatanejo keeps its colorful atmosphere and it constitutes a more relaxing vacation option in this great tourist development that forms together with Ixtapa resort.

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