Located on top of Chapultepec Hill, the name Chapultepec stems from the Nahuatl word chapoltepec which means “at the grasshopper’s hill”. It is located in the middle of Chapultepec Park in Mexico City. The site of the hill was a sacred place for Aztecs, and the buildings atop it have served several purposes during its history, including that of Military Academy, Imperial residence, Presidential home, observatory, and presently, the National Museum of History.
It is the only royal castle in North America that was actually used as the residence of a sovereign: the Mexican Emperor Maximilian I, and his consort Empress Carlota, lived there during the Second Mexican Empire. In 1775 Viceroy Bernardo de Gálvez ordered the construction of a stately home for himself at the highest point of Chapultepec Hill.
On September 13, 1847, the Niños Héroes (“Hero Children”) died defending the castle while it was taken by United States forces during the Battle of Chapultepec of the Mexican-American War.
The United States Marine Corps honors the Battle of Chapultepec and the subsequent occupation of Mexico City through the first line of the “Marines’ Hymn,” From the Halls of Montezuma. Marine Corps tradition maintains that the red stripe worn on the trousers of officers and noncommissioned officers, and commonly known as the blood stripe commemorates the high number of Marine NCOs and officers killed storming the castle of Chapultepec in 1847.