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The town of La Crucecita is the main population center and administrative seat. The municipality has a territory of 1,038 km2. The area was first inhabited by the Zapotecs who called it "Huatulco" which means "place where deer are found". In 1522, Hernán Cortés sent Gonzalo de Sandoval to conquer it but he failed in his mission because there were no gold mines as reported by earlier explorers. It remained under control of indigenous people until 1786 when King Carlos III gave permission to build a fort at Huatulco Bay for protection against pirates and privateers who preyed on Spanish ships sailing from Acapulco to Manila (Philippines). This fort was never built but instead Fort Guadalupe Victoria was constructed near San Juan Bautista Tuxtepec in 1829 during the war with France that resulted from Mexico's independence movement led by Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla and José María Morelos y Pavón.