History of “Hotel Palacio Doña Leonor” and the Personages of the Conquest of Antigua Guatemala
DON PEDRO ALVARADO
Later along, Don Pedro de Alvarado with Bernardino Vázquez de Tapia they made an advanced inspection toward Tenochtitlan, in order to observe and determine the best route, Vázquez de Tapia fell ill with fever, and Alvarado had to complete the mission, both returned to Cholula to Hernan Cortes inform the details, that’s when the Indians gave him the nickname of Tonatiuh.
In the absence of Cortés, who had gone to meet Pánfilo de Narvaez, Pedro de Alvarado remained in command, ordering the killing of the Main Temple, which preceded the defeat of the Spanish in what was called the Battle of “Noche Triste” (1520). Reprimanded by Cortes, who was forced to rush back to Tenochtitlan to his aid, arguing that the Aztecs were preparing human sacrifices Texcal Party (fifth month of the eighteen months of the Mexica calendar), backing out on their promise of not doing it, and the feast was prepared as atrap to attack the Spanish. But even more lenient sources agreed to denounce that Alvarado ordered without notice to attack the feast dancers, killing between three hundred and six hundred unarmed people. The Aztecs Testimonies collected by Fray Bernardino de Sahagun described a cruel slaughter.
It is said that during his flight from the Great Tenochtitlan, he was credited with saving his life, despite being surrounded by enemies jumping a canal leaning on his spear buried in the mud, this gesture has given its name to “Puente de Alvarado”, name of a street in the City of Mexico, located in the area where that may have occurred. It could be cited as precedent pole vault, as done with Philippides for the marathon. but the jump probably didn’t exist: the reference comes from Francisco Lopez de Gomara, who was not even an eyewitness, and is emphatically contradicted by very Bernal Diaz del Castillo, who was there himself, and wields strong arguments: no witness had noticed the jump, because they were busy in saving their lives, the water depth and width of the channel hopping discards this act of acrobatics and finally, the same Bernal did not hear anyone mention the jump until long after the conquest the occasion of the publication of a libel laudatory to Alvarado.
Sent by Hernan Cortez, Captain Pedro de Alvarado leaves the city of Tenochtitlan towards Guatemala accompanied with 120 horsemen, 300 foot soldiers and several hundred people from Cholula, Tlaxcala and Mexico, to carry out the conquest of Guatemala from 1523 to 1527. Don Pedro de Alvarado entered Guatemala on the lowlands and peaceful Soconusco and then headed Xetulul Humbatz, Zapotitlan.
Daughter of Don Pedro de Alvarado and Doña Luisa (source Tlaxcala), Doña Leonor de Alvarado was born on March 22, 1524. She was the first woman mestiza born in Guatemala. In the newly founded city of Santiago de los Caballeros, named by Fray Juan Godinez as it was called Utatlán (in Quiche “Instead of the gray with age”).
Doña Leonor is to be interpreted historically dare others, since the importance of women in those days depended on the virtue of families in which they were born or married.
However, never underestimate the role she played during the conquest of Guatemala. Not only to maintain her family “togheter” but also she was the one to helped take important decisions of the State or in business.
Luisa and her daughter Doña Leonor de Alvarado constantly accompanied Don Pedro in his conquest of Guatemala and Central America.
In 1527, in a trip back to Spain, to secure his conquest Captain Don Pedro de Alvarado married Francisca de la Cueva, daughter of a noble and powerful family of Castilla. Doña Francisca did not last long in the Americas. On his return Pedro remarries his sister Dona Beatriz de la Cueva, who became Governor. To ensure a family relationship, Doña Leonor was married to Pedro de Portocarrero, conquistador and companion of Pedro de Alvarado, whom he accompanied during the conquest of Mexico and Guatemala, participating in numerous battles against the Indians.
In 1524, Pedro de Portocarrero, was appointed councilor of the council and served as mayor of the original Capitol. In 1526 he conducted the war against the peoples of Sacatepéquez and in 1527 conquered the province of Chiapas and founded the city of Comitan.
In 1539 Don Pedro Portocarrero dies, leaving Dona Leonor, barely 15 years widow, heir to a fortune, as they had no descendants.
After the death of Don Pedro and Dona Beatriz, arrives in Guatemala Don Francisco de la Cueva in 1539 (he was cousin of the Duke of Alburquerque). He requests through Bishop Francisco Marroquin to marry Doña Leonor, and thus consolidated its rich heiress of her late husband and father.
Leonor had six children with Don Francisco de la Cueva.
Doña Leonor’s Palace and adjacent buildings were originally the house of Leonor de Alvarado de la Cueva. It came to function as a center of commerce and Government (first floor). Don Francisco de la Cueva, alternately served as governor, mayor and businessman, but because of their relative inexperience and naivete, he left most of the business to his wife with more experience.
Don Francisco died in late 1576 and Doña Leonor survived until 1583.
In her will on September 13, 1583 before the notary (Hidalgo), Doña Leonor wished to be buried beside her father and husband in the chapel of the Cathedral (Central Cathedral).
As Don Pedro de Alvarado was known for his physical force and military leaders, his daughter Leonor inherited inner strength and determination.
In the meticulous restoration of “Doña Leonor’s palace” it became a testimonial tribute to this extraordinary woman.
In 1523, Captain General Don Pedro de Alvarado began the conquest of the highlands of Guatemala and eventually captured territory all the way to Peru.
In 1524, Alvarado established the first capital in Iximche, and named it “Ciudad de Santiago de los Caballeros de Goathemala” (City of the Knights of Saint James of Guatemala).
On November 22, 1527, after several Cakchiquel indian uprisings, the capital was moved to a more suitable site in the Valley of Almolonga – to the present-day city of Ciudad Vieja.
When this city was destroyed on September 11, 1541 by a devastating mudflow emanating from the Volcán de Agua, the colonial authorities decided to move once more, this time to the Valley of Panchoy.
On March 10, 1543 the Spanish conquistadors founded present-day Antigua, and again, it was named Santiago de los Caballeros. For more than 200 years it served as the seat of the military governor of the Spanish colony of Guatemala, a large region that included almost all of present-day Central America and the southernmost State of Mexico: Chiapas.