Relationship established 2002
Manzanillo is a city in the Mexican state of Colima. Located on the Pacific Ocean, Manzanillo’s natural harbors and railroad connections into Mexico’s interior make it the country’s door to trade in the Pacific. It is the second-largest community in the state after Colima, the capital. Manzanillo is also a beach resort and, as the self-proclaimed "sailfish capital" of the world, hosts a yearly sailfish fishing tournament.
Hernan Cortez and his minions, in search of Chinese treasure in the Pacific, were among the first to visit the area now known as Manzanillo. In 1522, Gonzalo de Sandoval, under orders from Cortes, dropped anchor in the Bay of Salagua (north of Manzanillo Bay), looking for safe harbors and good shipbuilding sites. In the year before he left, Sandoval granted an audience to local Indian chieftains in a small cove, which today carries the name Playa de La Audiencia. A great part of his fleet, which left to conquer the Philippines, was constructed in Salagua.
Manzanillo Bay was discovered in 1527 by navigator Alvaro de Saavedra, naming it Santiago de la Buena Esperanza, or Santiago's Bay of Good Hope. It became a departure point for important expeditions. Cortes visited the bay twice to protect his galleons from Portuguese pirates. Over the next three hundred years, the Pacific Coast’s history is filled with accounts of pirates from Portugal, England, France, and even Spain assaulting, looting, and burning ships for their rich cargos.
In 1825 the port of Manzanillo opened, so named because of the abundant groves of manzanillo trees that were used extensively in the early days of shipbuilding. It was raised to the status of a city on June 15, 1873. The railroad to Colima was completed in 1889, and other amenities such as electricity and potable water soon followed. In 1908, President Porfirio Dias inaugurated the railway linkage with Guadalajara and designated Manzanillo as an official port of entry. It was the state capital from February 20 to March 1, 1915, while Pancho Villa’s troops were threatening to capture the city of Colima.
In recent times, the harbor was modernized and deepened, allowing access to all major shipping lines around the world. As the largest port on the western coast of Mexico, it can admit ships of more than thirty thousand tons. The federal government has built a coal-fueled power generating plant, which supplies electricity to a five-state area (although the city of Manzanillo has its own separate power plant.)
Manzanillo has been touted as the "Sailfish Capital of the World," made famous by the fishing tournaments held in November and February, with prizes worth thousands of dollars. Then in the early 1980s, Bo Derek and Dudley Moore starred in the popular movie "10," filmed at Las Hadas resort and La Audiencia beach. Other movies done at or near Manzanillo include the made-for-TV mini-series "Return to Eden," the remake of "McHale’s Navy," and "I Still Know," (the sequel to "I Know What You Did Last Summer") released in 1999.
Sister City Structure/History
In 2001, the St. Paul/Manzanillo Sister City program was created to help develop and promote mutually beneficial relations between the two cities. An “official delegation” from the City of Manzanillo and the State of Colima traveled to St. Paul to initiate formal communications. Delegation members included the Governor of State of Colima, the Mayor of Manzanillo and Colima’s Minister of Tourism. A second official delegation visited St. Paul to promote relations between the two cities.
An Exchange of Statues (or A Cultural Exchange) took place in 2003: a Snoopy statue titled “Fisherman Snoopy” was delivered as a gift from the City of St. Paul to the City of Manzanillo. The statue was placed in the Central Plaza in downtown Manzanillo. The Snoopy statue was a part of a five year St. Paul tribute to “Peanuts” creator and St. Paul native Charles M. Schulz and was the first statue to travel outside the United States. A “Pez Vela Statue” was donated to the City of St. Paul by the City of Manzanillo and placed along Mississippi River near Lambert’s Landing in downtown St. Paul. The statue depicts a sport fish recognizing Manzanillo as the Sailfish and Marlin Capital of Mexico.
A St. Paul Sister City delegation traveled to Manzanillo on two occasions to develop mutually beneficial international relations. The first visit to Manzanillo was headed by St. Paul Mayor Randy Kelly. The second visit was attended by St. Paul City Councilmember Patrick Harris.
In 2004, the Sister City Committee in cooperation with the City of St. Paul donated and delivered a fully equipped fire truck with additional fire fighting apparatus to the Manzanillo Volunteer Firefighters. The St. Paul Fire Department also provided firefighting training to the Manzanillo Volunteer Firefighters.
A variety of other exchange programs were initiated to educate both cities about our common interests and differences regardless of international borders.
- St. Paul hosted the Ballet Folklorico of Manzanillo/Colima to perform in St. Paul’s Winter Carnival and St. Paul schools.
- Manzanillo has received sport equipment, educational and arts supplies.
- The Manzanillo Sister City and delegation members were represented in a display booth at the Minnesota State Fair.
- Saint Paul Sister City participated in Manzanillo’s “Fiestas de Mayo”.
- The Saint Paul/Manzanillo Sister City Organization worked with the Mall of America to promote and present the State of Colima Exhibit September 15–25, 2005.
- In October-November 2005 the Saint Paul/ Manzanillo Sister City Organization participated in Colima’s State Fair.
- In February, 2006, the Saint Paul/Manzanillo Sister City Organization visited Manzanillo in an “official capacity.” A “Bookmobile,” a mobile library that promotes literacy, was delivered to Manzanillo.
9.5 foot sailfish near Manzanillo