The Lazy Man’s History of the European Conquest of the Mexican West Coast
So the year is 1527. It is seven years after Hernan Cortez conquers the Aztecs and declares the area New Spain. Hernan Cortez is getting rich. The King is getting worried so he replaces Hernan Cortez as the Viceroy of New Spain. Hernan Cortez says “no problem, I didn’t want to stay here anyway” and starts moving north.
The King says you “No, you gotta stay in Cuernavaca.”
Hernan Cortez responds, “I can’t hear you! I am on the other side of the planet…”
Repeating history he goes to the West coast, turns all the Native Americans into slaves and conveniently declares the area New Galicia (Nueva Galicia), a new automous kingdom inside of New Spain.
The King sighs, I imagine shakes his head, and says “well, I guess we will have to organize this…” and appoints a guy named Nuño Beltrán de Guzmán to be the new Viceroy.
Nuño Beltrán de Guzmán surprisingly turns out to be worse than Cortez (with is actually saying a lot). Guzmán kills so many people that he is taken in chains back to Spain to answer for treason. A new Viceroy is appointed. Peace is established by breaking up the new kingdom into a few states and Nayarit is born.
Nayarit the Forgotten State
The state of Nayarit in the 16th century becomes super important. The Spanish are making new routes to California in the North and the Philippines in the West and the west coast town of Tepic becomes the central hub a growing number of West coast port towns. For almost three hundred years the area grows and gets rich and then in 1810 Mexicans decide they are done with the Spanish and war breaks out. The Spanish try to use the western state of Nayarit to make a comeback (think like the British and the war of 1812, but this time it is Spain and Mexico). Mexico is not having it and destroys the ports on the West coast, Spain is not coming back. Then the new government of Mexico largely ignored the region and the area slowly evolved a major fishing industry.
Today Tepic is a known as a colonial city with a very distinct musical sound. The almost national anthem, La Son De La Negra was inspired in Tepic after a tragic fire at a textile factory killed the writer’s wife.
Nayarit was one of the last states to become part of the Mexican Republic, establishing statehood in 1917. This was due to the Revolutionary War, where the locals demanded more of their centralized government in Mexico.
The town is small but there is still lots to see with the plaza, a large market, and municipal palace built in the 50s.