Medellín will be hosting until Saturday the congress “Hernán Cortés in the 21st Century”

The congress ‘Hernán Cortés in the 21st century. The Fifth centenary of the arrival of Cortés in Mexico’ aims to “continue building bridges between people and places of origin and destination for all that it has meant and means in the adventure of discovery, conquest and evangelization of the New World”, according to César Chaparro, academic director of the European and Ibero-American Academy of Yuste Foundation.

During his speech at the opening of the congress, Chaparro explained that the congress aims to “rescue, revise and reflect on history in order to project the future, extracting the lessons that must always be drawn”.

For César Chaparro, Cortés has always been a subject for analysis and study, and he detailed that the now defunct Extremadura Centre for Studies and Cooperation with Ibero-America (CEXECI-Centro Extremeño de Estudios y Cooperación con Iberoamérica) participated with Mexican and Cuban scholars in a congress held in the city of Santiago de Cuba, of which Cortés was the first mayor. In addition, he collaborated with a communication in the book ‘Miradas sobre Hernán Cortés’ that gathers a set of studies carried out by specialists that offer the reader an objective knowledge about a multifaceted man like Hernán Cortés.

In the opinion of the Foundation’s academic director, “Extremadura and Ibero-America are united by unquestionable links beyond the different interpretations that can be given to the origins of those links and regardless of the critical formulations that have been made”.

The Foundation also seeks to bring out of oblivion those men and women on both sides of the Atlantic who “with their ideas and projects, fortunes and adversities were the silent architects of the social fabric resulting from the fusion of cultures”, he said. In this sense, various activities are organised around Ñuflo de Chaves, founder of Santa Cruz de la Sierra in Bolivia; Hernando Bustamante, a native of Mérida and one of the few survivors of the round-the-world trip, or Alonso Álvarez de Pineda, of Aldeacentenera, author of the first map of Florida. And to close the cycle of interests of the Foundation, in Almendralejo, during the month of June, there are scheduled a conference on Spanish exile and Extremadura in Mexico on the 40th anniversary of the welcoming of Spanish exiles during the dictatorship.

The congress, which will be held until next Saturday in Medellín and Trujillo, brings together academics and experts from both sides of the Atlantic such as Christian Duverger; Rodrigo Martínez Barac; Carmen Martínez, Alicia Mayer and Ramón Tamames and will be attended by more than 300 people, having presented more than 40 communications. The congress is organised by the Historical Extremadura Federation and the Yuste Foundation. There is also the collaboration of the Embassy of Mexico in Spain; the Cultural Institute of Mexico in Spain; the Department of Culture and Equality of the Regional Government of Extremadura (Junta de Extremadura); the city councils of Medellín and Trujillo; the Historical Metellinense Association; the Federation of Cultural Associations of La Siberia, La Serena and Vegas Altas (SISEVA) and the Obra Pía de los Pizarro Foundation.

Speakers and organisation

The Honorary Committee of this congress is presided over by King Felipe VI. Among the speakers are Christian Duverger, French anthropologist and historian specialised in Mesoamerican civilizations at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris; Alicia Mayer, researcher at the National Autonomous University of Mexico and current director of UNAM-Canada; and Ramón Tamames, doctor in Law and Economic Sciences and academic of the Royal Academy of Moral and Political Sciences.

Then there is Rodrigo Martínez Barac, doctor in History and Ethnohistory and professor-researcher of the Directorate of Historical Studies of the INAH and the ENAH of Mexico; María Carmen Martínez, professor of History of America and researcher specialised in Hernán Cortés of the University of Valladolid; Rosa María Martínez de Codes, professor of History of America of the Complutense University of Madrid; and Miguel de Rojas Mulet, colonel of the Institute of Military History and Culture (IHCM), who will also be participating at the event.

The list of experts is completed by Esteban Mira Caballos, doctor of American History and biographer of Hernán Cortés; Sigfrido Vázquez, professor of American History at the University of Extremadura; and José Julián Barriga, journalist and member of the Real Academia de Extremadura de las Letras y las Artes (Extremadura Royal Academy of Arts).