The paradox of progress toward sustainable well-being – Diario de Centro America

Dr. Jorge Antonio Ortega Guyton

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The Hispanics’ approach to conquest involves countless factors, and one of them is the army, which was decisive in consolidating the exercise of power and taking the land as a divine right with the close consent of the kings. Pontifical Court. From Rome.

It is for the above reason that an approach is necessary to try to know the entry and entry maneuvers and military battles in the area, the use of the terrain, the equipment, the structure and the plan of operations of the conquerors after 500 years. In addition to the order of battle, the armies in confrontation.

Hernán Cortés organized two expeditions to Central America, one under the command of Cristóbal de Olid, to Honduras by sea, and the other under the command of Pedro de Alvarado to conquer the kingdoms of Guatemala on December 6, 1523. The first battle in the area to be conquered took place at Tonla, in which the members of the expedition were victorious. The expedition’s progress was hostile from the moment it entered the area, with sudden encounters and ambushes. Then battles took place on the banks of Tilpa River and Salama River. Later, the Battle of Zetulul took place, a strategic position that became the headquarters of subsequent military operations.

Following Alvarado’s offensive plan, the Battle of Ollintepec occurred. The second battle took place at Llanuras del Pino (Quezaltenango). After the defeat, Quiche leaders opted for deception and invited the Spanish army to enter Utatlan in order to agree to a (fake) peace; The plan was to burn the conquerors settled in the city of Quichelense (this failed due to disloyalty). According to Pedro de Alvarado’s letters to Hernán Cortés, in the first days of April 1524, Quiché principales were burned alive and the city razed.

The previous victory allowed the Castilians to advance towards Tecpan, Iximche, which the Spanish took without major resistance; The Kaqchikels sought to subjugate the Zutuhils, with whom they had commonalities. The battle was bloody and King Tepepul’s men were defeated. The victory of the Hispanics forced the coastal towns and descendants of the Pipiles to submit to the conquerors to avoid further bloodshed.

In the first days of July 1525, a second military expedition began, under the command of Gonzalo de Alvarado, with the aim of capturing Zaculeo; He left Santiago de Guatemala with a contingent of 2,420 elements (infantry, cavalry, sappers, indigenous allies of the Spanish). The axis of advance reached Totonicapán, then Momostenango, in the direction of Zaculeu; Pueblo Viejo Malacatán was the first city organized for defense, and they prevented invaders from coming to the capital of the Main Empire under the orders of King Cabildo Balam; After several battles unfavorable for the Hispanics, they decided to besiege the fortress of Zaculeo, the victory being consolidated in October 1525. The third military campaign under the command of Francisco Castellanos in the towns of Uspantan and Ixil ended in 1530.

From a military point of view Alvarado’s campaign allows an analysis based on the tactics used by European armies of the 16th century and contrasts with current strategy theory, as the terrain is similar and the axis of advance can be predicted. ., the weapons used, the maneuvers, the disposition of the units, the errors in the leadership of the units confirming the execution of the principles of warfare that were applied in the conquest of the territory that constitutes the Republic of Guatemala today.

Knowledge of the past allows us to understand the present and project ourselves into the future without fear of future uncertainty.

Dr. Jorge Antonio Ortega G.Dr. Jorge Antonio Ortega G.

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