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Acapulco: The Diamond of the Pacific

From its Olmec origins to the glamour of the 1950s, Acapulco has been a bay with one of the most fascinating stories of transformation and fascination in Mexican history. The history of the bay begins with its founding nearly 2000 years ago by the Olmec and Yope people. However, it was not until the 7th century that Acapulco began to see great development, following the arrival of major Teotihuacan influences by way of Morelos and Chilpancingo, and from the south the Mayan influence in the area of Tehuantepec.

After the defeat of the Mexicas in Mexico City, on December 15, 1521, by orders of Hernán Cortés, Captain Francisco Chico set out to explore the "South Sea" in order to find a new port where ships could be built and docked. The Captain entered the great bay of Acapulco and baptized it with the name of Santa Lucia, given that the saints' calendar so indicated. Its official foundation was not until March 12, 1550 by the mandate of Viceroy Antonio de Mendoza, and the bay was renamed "La Ciudad de los Reyes" (The City of Kings). It was during this period that Acapulco began to shine like the diamond it is.

After the inauguration of the most important transpacific route in the history of Mexico, called "El Nao de China" in 1565 by Fray Andres de Urdaneta, the port of Acapulco began to receive merchants and merchandise of Asian origin, primarily Chinese, Japanese and Korean. The great market of Acapulco became one of the most relevant and emblematic markets in the world, since Mexico was in the "middle of the world" between Asia and Europe, and thus Acapulco solidified its value and splendor at an international level.

However, its great heyday came during the 1950's with the approach of Hollywood to the bay. In 1947, with the production of the film "The Lady from Shanghai" directed by Orson Welles and starring the illustrious Rita Hayworth, Acapulco began to establish itself as the capital of fashion and refinement. With it, Hollywood legends such as Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Debbie Reynolds, Cary Grant and Elizabeth Taylor began to go crazy for the Pacific diamond. Acapulco even became so famous that President John F. Kennedy made frequent trips to the bay to take his breaks.

Over time, the bay's fame grew more and more, and Acapulco's name began to rival that of luxurious cities such as St. Tropez and Ibiza. There was no corner of the world that Acapulco was not known as an illusive place, full of magic, glitter and dreams. So much so that there are a multitude of songs dedicated to the bay, some of them being "Fun in Acapulco" by Elvis Presley, "Acapulco" by the great Italian composer Piero Piccioni, "Acapulco Amor" by Luis Miguel, "Acapulco" by Les Baxter, among others.

It is clear that Acapulco has always left its visitors completely enamored with its colors, flavors, scents, sensations and a uniquely Acapulcan radiance. Its value, beauty and perpetuity dictate it as "The True Diamond of the Pacific".


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