It was near Trujillo that Christopher Columbus first set foot on the American mainland, on August 14, 1502, on his fourth and final voyage. The first Catholic Mass on American mainland soil was held on the spot where he and his crew landed. Trujillo was founded two decades later, in 1525, and served as Honduras’ provincial capital until 1537.
Trujillo’s deepwater port was used by ships carrying gold and silver to Spain, and was attacked numerous times by pirates, including A-list scallywags like Nicolas Van Horn and Henry Morgan. The Spanish built fortresses – including Fortaleza Santa Bárbara – to repel the pirates but to no avail. After being sacked by Dutch pirates in 1643, the city was abandoned for over a century.