Pátzcuaro was founded in 1324 by the king Curátame and reconstructed in 1372 by his descendant Tariácuri. As in the rest of Michoacán, this region did not escape atrocities, committed first by Cristóbal de Olid and later by the bloodthirsty Nuño de Guzmán, a captain in Hernán Cortés army. According to Guzmáns own documents, ...they (the Purhépecha) are men of inferior race whom Cortés wants to get rid of....
In 1528, a small band of mercenaries headed by Nuño de Guzmán was about to be sent back to Spain due to the discontent that his atrocities were causing his government. He then decided to make a cruel and unnecessary attempt at conquering the west of México. The fall and the arrest of these men by the Spanish authorities in no way erases the chaos and destruction they caused in Michoacán. Due to the burning, violation, assassination and enslavement of a peaceful and innocent people, Nuño de Guzmán is remembered sadly as the symbol of malicious invasion and the power of a conqueror without flag, creed or race, who believes in extreme force and violence as the only means of persuasion.
In a short time, the grand and powerful Purhépecha nation was completely devastated. The culture was destroyed, its temples, houses and fields sacked, and the people who escaped death and torture were dispersed throughout the mountains of Michoacán. Had it not been for the effort of one man whose ideals, good judgment and ability to put into practice the morals that he preached, it is doubtful that the Purhépechas would have survived.
This man was don Vasco de Quiroga, who arrived in México in 1531, and about seven years later became the first bishop of Michoacán.
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