I know I am getting into dangerous territory here. There are many important cities and towns in Honduras with a rich heritage. But if I was to have to choose the city with the most relevant historical value to Honduras, I would choose Trujillo. Why Trujillo? It is only a small town on the Caribbean coast of Honduras and has little importance in modern day Honduras. Following, a list of the most important events that took place here to justify why Trujillo is the most historic city in Honduras.
7 Historical Facts to Support my Claim that Trujillo is the Most Historic City in Honduras.
- Christopher Columbus landed here in 1502 during his fourth and last voyage to the “Indies”. As it turns out, it was the first “official” landing on continental America! During his previous voyages, he had discovered the larger Antilles as well as smaller islands in the Caribbean. This was the first time he came across the continent! From Trujillo he sailed east to the Cape of Gracias a Dios. He then continued south along Central America and all the way to South America.
- Columbus established the first settlement the American Continent in Trujillo. The original settlement did not survive long. The men left behind all died from various deceases. But it is still the first settlement set up in Continental America. It dates all the way back to 1502! This is before the conquest of Mexico and Peru!
- The first Catholic Mass in America took place in Trujillo. The Catholic Church would play a significant role during the Spanish Colonial days. This in turn still has a strong influence in the modern Latin America that we know. For good or for bad, it all started right here, in Trujillo!
- During Colonial times The Brits had a strong presence in Central America. They had control of the Bay Islands, which are visible from the Coast in Trujillo. They also had a strong alliance with the Miskito Natives that lived East of Trujillo. This was the Miskito Coast Protectorate. Pirates and buccaneers roamed these seas and attacks on Trujillo were common. To protect the city, the Spaniards built the Fortress of Santa Barbara. From there they had a commanding view of the Bay of Trujillo. An army was there to protect the city from attacks.
- One of the darkest chapters of Central America History came to an end in Trujillo. William Walker was an American Filibuster who became president of Nicaragua. His dream was to conquer Central America and turn it into an English Speaking territory. He lost his last battle in Trujillo. After being tried by the Honduras Army, put before a firing squad and shot. His tomb can be seen at the old Trujillo Cemetery.
- In the late XIX Century, Trujillo was one of the most dynamic communities in Honduras. It was home to the Truxillo Railroad Company. This was one of the North American Banana Companies invested a lot of money in Honduras. To be certain, the term Banana Republic was coined in Trujillo by US writer Sydney Porter. Porter is also known by his pen name O Henry. If you would like to read O Henry’s stories about Trujillo, I suggest you read Cabbages and Kings.
- During the 1980s, at the peak of the Cold War, Trujillo was a US stronghold. General Anastasio Somoza, the famous dictator from Nicaragua fell to the Sandinistas. They had the direct support of the Soviets. Thus, the US Army set a foot in Trujillo to stop the ideological advance of communism in the region. The famous Contra or counter revolutionary effort that the US set up had strong presence here.
There are many other interesting historical facts about Trujillo to support my claim that this is the most historic city in Honduras. My friend Jon Tompson, a British Expat that set up base in Trujillo many years ago is writing a great book about Trujillo. If you happen to be in Trujillo and want a complete tour with many more historical facts, visit Jon at his restaurant Café Vino Tinto. It is one of the best restaurants in Trujillo. Sit down and enjoy the view and the food while you get great information about the Historical facts of Trujillo.