Cozumel (Originally the Mayan name was Cuzaam luumil, by apocope it became Cuzamil and by phonetic deformation, the Hispanics transformed it into the Cozumel we use today.) It can be divided as follows: Cuzam: swallow; Luum: earth or place and IL: of belonging Literally it can therefore be translated as a place or land of swallows.It is a Mexican island, the third largest and the second most populated in the country.It is located in eastern Mexico, in the Caribbean Sea, sixty-two kilometers from Cancun and constitutes (together with the Calica and Xel-Há continental enclaves) one of the 11 municipalities of the state of Quintana Roo.
SHIELD: The blue background represents the sea, the sun represents the quality of the municipality being the easternmost region of the country, the swallow the meaning of the word Cozumel.
Cozumel, during the pre-Hispanic era, was an important Mayan sanctuary, specifically a sanctuary dedicated to Ixchel, the fertility goddess of the Mayan people. Cozumel belonged to the region of Ecab, and its importance lay in its Mayan temple, which is why it was an incessant coming and going of pilgrims who came here to ask the goddess Ixchel.
The Mayan culture in Cozumel reached its maximum level around the 16th century AD when it was a commercial empire with links to other centers, from the Gulf of Mexico to the Central American coast. At the same time, it had an important religious boom, turning the sanctuary of the goddess Ixchel into a pilgrimage center for all women of the Mayan world who at least once in their lives, according to their religion, had to visit the goddess to have a life fertile and happy births.
From 300 to 900 AD, Cozumel was an important commercial port and religious center. During this period, priests were at the top of the social hierarchy, and life revolved around religious ceremonies.
The island was consecrated to Ix Chel, the goddess of the Mayan Moon, and many Mayan women who desire fertility made the pilgrimage from Tulum and Playa del Carmen to Cozumel in large canoes to worship in the temples. The remains of the altar and the ceremonial center of Ix Chel can be seen in the ruins of San Gervasio, which is located near the center of the island. By 1200 AD, Cozumel had become an important port for re-export trade throughout Central America. The goods were brought to the island, and then transshipped to other regions.
The first recorded visit of Spaniards to our coasts, was as circumstantial as that of the shipwrecked, although not in such a dramatic situation. In 1517, the then Governor of Cuba Diego Velásquez, organized an expedition to capture slaves in the nearby islands, which he put under the command of Captain Francisco Hernández de Córdova. Diverted by the currents, the ships go into unknown waters and the first lands sighted were Isla Mujeres and Cabo Catoche. After surrounding the peninsula and being rejected by the Mayan warriors in all the points where they tried to disembark, the expedition returned to Cuba, carrying the news of the new land and some gold objects, which awoke the greed of those who lived on the island.
A year later, in May 1518, a new expedition sailed. Commanded by Captain Juan de Grijalva, on May 3 they arrived in Cozumel, which they called the Holy Cross, because it was the Christian festival of that day, the following days They skirted the coast and disembarked until the 6th. Grijalva ordered his chaplin Juan Días to celebrate the mass in a temple on the island, which was celebrated on May 6. This was the first Catholic ceremony held in Mexico. Upon leaving, Grijalva left a golden statue as a gift to the Mayan authorities of the island, this statue is now located in the Cathedral of San Miguel in the center of San Miguel. A year later, the famous conquistador Hernán Cortés landed in Cozumel, beginning a period of Spanish occupation of the island.
While the Maya accepted Spanish rule more or less peacefully, this was the beginning of the end of their cultural heritage in Cozumel. Not only did Cortez order the destruction of many of the Mayan temples on the island, but intercoastal commerce came to an end, and the cult of Ix Chel was suppressed. A prolonged outbreak of smallpox, which lasted from 1519 to 1570, decimated the local population, which declined from 40,000 to less than 30 during this period. In 1600, Cozumel was uninhabited. In the seventeenth century, pirates began using Cozumel as a safe harbor. It is said that the English pirate Henry Morgan frequented Cozumel as a transit station during his three decades of looting. In the nineteenth century, the French pirate Jean Lafitte using Cozumel as a hiding place. But it was not until 1847 that Cozumel recovered permanent residents.
In the first years of the 1800s, a sailor of Spanish origin, a mixture of merchant, public official and pirate, sailed frequently through the peninsular waters; He even developed a curious but very complex navigation guide from the Terminos Lagoon to Puerto Barrios in Guatemala, pointing out inlets, bays, lowlands, cays, reefs, etc. As a base for his maritime trips, he established in 1819 a small ranch in Cozumel, which he coincidentally called San Miguel, not because he had built it in the same place that centuries before had been baptized that way, but because his first name was precisely that, Miguel Molas, it was he himself who baptized with his last name the extreme northwest of the island and was until his death the master and lord of the entire coast of what is today Quintana Roo, he died near Tulum, after a combat with forces of the government.
Cozumel to this day
Currently, Isla de Cozumel is the third largest island in Mexico, after Isla Tiburón, or Isla Angel de la Guarda, in the Baja California region. According to figures from the 2010 Population and Housing Census, in the municipality there were 79 535 permanent inhabitants, of which 40 357 are men and 39 178 are women
Cozumel is a Mexican island in the mostly undeveloped Caribbean and is a popular cruise port, famous for its dive sites. In the Arrecifes de Cozumel National Park, there are diving spots around a section of the Mesoamerican reef and the submerged sculptures of the Underwater Art Museum. Chankanaab is an ecological park that surrounds a lagoon with underwater caverns and that houses dolphins, manatees and sea turtles.
And with scheduled stopovers with months (years) of anticipation, the tourist cruises in number higher than 1400 arrivals, constitute the backbone of the local economy. Well, of the 3 million 400 thousand visitors, almost 90% arrive by this means and the others do it by sea from Playa del Carmen and by air of different national and foreign routes.
From the recent history of Cozumel we must highlight a natural disaster that seriously damaged the island, Hurricane Wilma, which passed through the island with devastating effects in 2005, uprooting trees, creating considerable damage to wildlife and flora due to the effect of water. of the sea that entered the earth, damages that were largely solved in record time, since the island lives from everything that was heavily damaged.