The first capital of Guatemala was founded in 1524 on the site of a Kakchikel-Maya city, presently named Iximche. It was named Ciudad de Santiago de los Caballeros de Goathemala (Saint James’ City of the Knights of Guatemala) because it was founded on the day of Saint James. After several rebellions, the capital was moved to a site in the Valley of Alotenango in 1527 (now known as Ciudad Vieja) keeping its original name. In 1541, the city was destroyed by mudslides from volcano Agua. Therefore, in 1543 the Spanish conquistadors founded the third Guatemalan capital city and seat of the Spanish colonial government in Guatemala. It gradually grew to be the most important and booming city in Central America.
In 1717, a devastating earthquake hit the area and more than 3,000 buildings were destroyed. It was not until 1773, however, due to another large earthquake, that authorities decided to move the capital city once again. It was transferred to the current location of Guatemala city and was given a new name, Nueva Guatemala de la Asuncion (New Guatemala of the Ascension. The former capital city was renamed La Antigua Guatemala (The Old Guatemala)