Epoch of the Conquest in Honduras
The territory that includes the Republic of Honduras, one of the five states of Central America, was discovered by Christopher Columbus on his fourth and last voyage to the New World (1502), the date on which he took possession of this country on behalf of the king of Spain.
In March 1524, Gil González Dávila became the first Spaniard to arrive in Honduras for purposes of conquest. He founded the town of San Gil de Buena Vista and entered Honduran territory pacifying the Indians, fighting against the Spanish who disputed the territory, as well as; hoping to find the outlet of Lake Nicaragua.
Later, Hernán Cortés, moved by the reports he had received about the great wealth of the country, sent two expeditions; one by land and one by sea. He commissioned the first from Pedro de Alvarado and the second from Cristóbal de Olid. But the latter betrayed him. For this reason, Cortés left Mexico, at the head of an expedition that appeared for nearly two years and ended, after miles of danger and privation, in Trujillo.
Arriving in Honduras, Cortés introduced cattle and founded the city of Natividad de Nuestra Señora, near Puerto Caballos. On April 25, 1526, before returning to Mexico, Cortés appointed Hernando de Saavedra Governor of Honduras and left instructions to treat the indigenous people well.
On October 26, 1526, Diego López de Salcedo was appointed by the emperor as Governor of Honduras, replacing Saavedra. The following decade was marked by the personal ambitions of the rulers and the conquerors interfering with the governmental organization. The Spanish settlers rebelled against their leaders, and the Indians rebelled against their patrons, and against mistreatment.
Salcedo, seeking to enrich himself, had serious confrontations with Pedrarias, governor of Castilla del Oro, who, for his part, wanted Honduras as part of his domains. In 1528, Pedrarias arrested Salcedo and forced him to cede part of the Honduran territory, but the emperor rejected the agreement.
After Salcedo’s death in 1530, the settlers found themselves arbiters of power. They put in and took out governors. Faced with this situation, the settlers asked Pedro de Alvarado to put an end to the anarchy. With the arrival of Alvarado in 1536, chaos ensued, and the region came under authority.
In 1537, Francisco de Montejo was appointed governor. Arriving in Honduras, he annulled the land distributions made by Alvarado. Its captain, Alonso de Cáceres, was responsible for putting down the Indian revolt of 1537 and 1538, led by chief Lempira.
In 1539 Montejo and Alvarado had serious disagreements about the region, which drew the attention of the Council of the Indies. Montejo went to Chiapas, and Alvarado became governor of Honduras.