It was founded as San Antonio de Gibraltar in February 1592 by Gonzalo Piña Ludueña and took its name from his home town, the then Spanish Gibraltar (now a British overseas territory). It was, during the colonial period, the most important harbour of the city of Mérida and a major center for the exportation of cacao. However, it was taken and ransacked in 1667 by the pirate François l'Olonnais and two years later by Sir Henry Morgan. In 1678, Michel de Grammont capture and plundering the smaller town, penetrating as far inland as Trujillo. The damage was so severe that it had nearly ceased to exist by 1680.
- Eduardo Osorio C. Historia de Mérida: conformación de la sociedad colonial merideña, 1558-1602 (in Spanish). p. 294.
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