officer under Hernán Cortés during the conquest of Mexico. In
one of the battles between the Aztecs and the Spaniards in Mexico
City (1519), Alvarado at one point found himself cut off from
the rest of his troops, separated by a wide body of water. Fully
armed in the Conquistador's uniform of metal, Alvarado made a
running jump across the water (which those who were watching later
swore no man could have made) and landed safely on the other side.
The jump was so great that the battle stopped momentarily to see
whether he would make it or not. When he did, both sides cheered
him. Then the battle continued. This feat later became known as
"Alvarado's Leap." He later was the commander who conquered Guatemala.
Born in Badajoz, Spain, Alvarado went to the West Indies in 1510.
He joined the expedition to Cuba in 1511 and received a grant
of land there. After Cortés conquered Mexico in 1521, he sent
Alvarado to seize Guatemala. Three years later, with the help
of Indian allies, Alvarado succeeded. The next year he conquered
El Salvador and directed the founding of the capital city, San
Salvador. He became governor of Guatemala, and later of Honduras.