In the summer of 1521, Spanish conquistadors led by Hernan Cortes looted and destroyed the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan.
Today, 500 years later, Mexico’s indigenous Zapatistas are holding their own “invasion” of the Spanish capital to mark the anniversary.
A delegation of seven Zapatistas set out by boat from Mexico’s most eastern point, Isla Mujeres, weeks ago in May, following the inverse route Spanish invaders took half a century earlier.
They crossed the Atlantic in 50 days and disembarked in Vigo, in northern Spain, on June 22.
Once they set foot on European soil, Zapatistas renamed the continent “Slumil K’ajxemk’op” which means “rebel land” in Tzotzil, a Mayan language.
But the Zapatistas say they did not come to conquer or to dominate.
Their mission, they said in a statement, was to “listen and to learn” from local struggles for social justice.
The purpose of the trip is “to talk about our mutual histories, our suffering, our rage, our successes and our failures”.
Spanish conquistadors, aided by an alliance of indigenous people, laid siege to Tenochtitlan until it surrendered on August 13, 1521.
The Aztec capital was devastated by violence and disease brought by Europeans.
Mexico City was built on its ruins.
“Even with the lowest estimates, around eight out of 10 people died from disease,” said Caroline Pennock, a senior lecturer who specialises in Aztec history.