Battle of Acajutla

Battle of Acajutla

The Battle of Acajutla was a battle in 1524 between the Spanish conquistador Pedro de Alvarado and a batallion of Pipiles, in the neighborhoods of present day Acajutla, near the coast of El Salvador.


Hernán Cortés, after annexing the city of Tenochtitlan into his dominion, he delegated the conquest of the territories located to the south of Pedro de Alvarado's territory. This was left in December of 1523 under the control of about 300,000 Spanish soldiers and 5,000 Amerindians. Alvarado controlled certain towns of the present territory of Guatemala, occupied by the Quiché who fact favored the conquerors when they obtained the support of another rival town Los Kakchiqueles. They joined forces with Alvarado's men and supported his campaign against the enemy neighbor of the pipil. The army arrived at the present territory of El Salvador, across the Paz River on June 6 1524. Before the arrival of the conquerors, the near settlers decided to flee.


On June 8 1524, the conquerors arrived in the the neighborhoods of Acajutla at a village called Acaxual. There, a battle culminated according to records, witnessing full fields of military people, and the Pipils wearing cotton armor (of three fingers of thickness according to Alvarado), and armed with long lances. This circumstance would be crucial in the development of the battle. Alvarado approached the pipils with a crossbow shot”, but the natives did not move. The conqueror noticed the proximity of nearby hill, and knew that it could be a hiding place for his rivals. Alvarado pretended that his army had given up the battle and had retreated. The pipils that suddenly rushed on the invaders giving Alvarado to opportunity to succeed in an implacable defeat. The pipils that fell to the ground could not get back on their feet, by the weight and the hinderance of their cotton armor, which aided the slaughter by the Spanish of them. In words of Alvarado: “the destruction was so great that in just a short time there were none which were left alive… ”.

However, Alvarado's army were not completely unscathed. In the battle Alvarado himself was struck by a sling in the leg, fracturing his femur. According to local tradition the sling that hit the conquistador was by a pipil prince of Atonal naming. The infection lasted about eight months and it left him partially crippled for the rest of his life. In spite of it, he continued the conquest campaign with relish.

Bibliography and references

* Ministerio de Educación, (1994), "Historia de El Salvador Tomo I", México D.F. : Comisión Nacional de los Libros de Texto Gratuitos
* Vidal, Manuel, (1961), "Nociones de historia de Centro América", San Salvador: Editorial Universitaria

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