HERNAN CORTES and his minions, in search of Chinese treasure in the
Pacific, were among the first to visit the area now known as Manzanillo. In 1522, Gonzalo
de Sandoval, under orders from Cortes, dropped anchor in the Bay of Salagua (north of
Manzanillo Bay), looking for safe harbors and good shipbuilding sites. In the year before
he left, Sandoval granted an audience to local Indian chieftains in a small cove, which
today carries the name Playa de La
Audiencia. A great part of his fleet, which left to conquer the Philippines, was
constructed in Salagua.
IN 1825 the port
of Manzanillo opened, so named because of the
abundant groves of manzanillo trees that were used extensively in the early days of shipbuilding. It was raised to the status of a city on June 15, 1873. The railroad to Colima was completed in 1889, after budgeting for this necessity to expand the country, and other amenities, such as electricity and potable water soon followed. In 1908, President Porfirio Dias inaugurated the railway
linkage with Guadalajara, and designated Manzanillo as an official port of entry. It was
the state capital from February 20 to March 1, 1915, while Pancho Villas troops were
threatening to capture the city of Colima.
As the largest port in Mexico, it can admit ships of more than 30,000 tons. The federal government has built a coal-fueled power generating plant, which supplies electricity to a 5-state area (although the city of Manzanillo has its own separate power plant.)
MANZANILLO HAS BEEN TOUTED as the "Sailfish Capital of the
World," made famous by the fishing tournaments
held in November and February, with prizes worth thousands of dollars. Then in the early
80s, Bo Derek and Dudley Moore starred in the popular movie "10" , filmed
at Las Hadas resort and La Audiencia beach. Other movies done at or near Manzanillo
include the made-for-TV mini-series, "Return to Eden," the remake of
"McHales Navy," and "I Still Know," (the sequel to "I Know
What You Did Last Summer.") released in 1999.
Historical photos from the archives of Victor Hugo Gonzalez Rosas