Francisco Vasquez de Coronado

Spanish Explorer & Conqustador

Born: 1510

Died: 1554

Coronado arrived in New Spain in 1535 and quickly became governor of all it’s provinces about 4 years later. While serving as Governor, he became enthralled in the stories of Vasco de Gama’s explorations and the rumors of the riches to be found on the provinces northeast of his province in the legendary Seven Cities of Cibola.

In 1540, Coronado was chosen to lead an expedition into that area, while a fleet commanded by Hernando de Alarcon kept pace with him along the coast. (In the same year, Alarcon discovered the mouth of the Colorado River while sailing up the Gulf of California.) Coronado explored a very large area and found Zuni Indian pueblos, but no treasure was ever found. One of his search parties he dispatched discovered the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River.

Coronado expedition spent time in the region of Sante Fe, New Mexico, crossed the Rio Grande River into northern Texas, and then crossed the Canadian and Arkansas Rivers into Wichita, Kansas. Although the group failed to find any great riches, Coronado’s travel accounts were later considered valuable for the information about the Southwest during that period.

The expedition was ultimately deemed a failure, and the members returned to Mexico, where Coronado was summarily relieved as Governor. Retired, Coronado lived in Mexico City until his death.

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