Posted by ZihuaRob on August 26, 2001 at 22:06:34:
The Aztecas founded the great city of Tenochtitlan in 1325 in what is now Mexico City. Their dominating influence extended to this region, and included religion, culture and commerce. However, they were still the new kids on the block.
Before 1545 this area was known as Cihuatlán, meaning "the Place of Women", and encompassed the region along the coast from the mouth of the Río Balsas at the border of Guerrero with Michoacán down the coast to Acapulco and to the heights of the Sierra Madre del Sur, what is still known today as La Costa Grande. The Tarascans inhabited the region to the north in what is now Michoacán and La Tierra Caliente, however they visited the local area frequently.
Local legend has it that the reef of boulders at Las Gatas was built by a Tarascan king named Caltzontzín; however, another legend is that the rocks were the ballast dumped by arriving Spanish ships before loading timber from the port at what is now Playa La Madera to ship to the Orient and Europe. Maybe the truth is somewhere in between.
Before the Conquista in 1519 the area was inhabited by several indigenous tribes: Cuitlatecas, Pantecas, Tolimecas, and Chumbias. The center of civilization for the region in that time was the area now known as Petatlán where their agriculture flourished, as it does to this day. These are the same people who worked stone into objects of art and architecture, and left us the ruins of La Soledad de Maciel.
In 1520, the year following the Conquista, the Spaniards discovered gold in the northern part of the region near Río Balsas.
And there went the neighborhood!
The language of the Aztecas, Nahuatl, is still spoken in much of Guerrero today, and you can hear it spoken daily by many of the vendors in the artisan markets.