VASQUEZ DE CORONADO
in 1510, Francisco Vasquez de Coronado may have failed in
his attempt to find treasure enough to enhance the Spanish
Empire but he is known for having led one of the most,
astounding European explorations of the North American
He was born to a noble family in Spain, coming to the
America when he was 25 to work as the viceroy’s assistant
for New Spain.
arriving in Mexico, he married the colonial treasurer’s
daughter within three years.
Soon, he put down a dramatic slave rebellion,
becoming the governor of one of Mexico’s provinces.
Excited, Coronado wanted much more so after hearing
about the seven cities of gold, and Cabeza de Vaca’a
travels, he decided to spearhead a royal expedition with 300
soldiers, 1,000 Tlaxcalan Indians, and huge herds of
livestock, moving to the north.
in the summer of 1540, he and his advance party consisting
of Spanish cavalry came upon a Zuni pueblo called Hawikuh,
which had already encountered the Spanish previously.
One of the survivors of Vaca’s expedition by the
name of Estevan led a small group of scouters to the Zuni
one year previous but Zuni killed him.
However, Coronado would soon learn this occurred
because of Estevan’s advancements with the women of the
long after, Coronado went to the pueblo during the high
point of the Zuni summer ceremonies and understandably, they
were not happy to see him.
However, Coronado gave the Zuni people a warning that
if they did not obey him, along with God’s help war would
be brought to the people with great force to take the wives
and children, making them all slaves.
The Zuni were angry but not overly impressed.
They began to shoot arrows at the Spanish, almost
The skilled soldiers and those that were mounted
gained quick entry into the pueblo, forcing the Zuni to flee
for their lives.
once inside the Zuni pueblo, Coronado found no gold, which
required them to continue on their journey for treasure.
Sending out parties along the Colorado River, they
explored the Grand Canyon and a large part of the area of
what we know today as New Mexico.
Then, Coronado took a party of men with him into
Quivira, which people believe is today’s Kansas.
While they, all they found was a small village of
you can imagine, Coronado and his men were extremely
disappointed with this find, deciding to head back home to
the Viceroy announced that Coronado’s expedition was a
complete disaster and failure.
Even so, Coronado resumed his role of governorship
with in a few years, he was found guilty of several acts
against the Indians while under authority.
Removed from his office as governor in 1544, Coronado
moved back to Mexico City, working in municipal government,
a modest paying job.
Decades before the chronicle of his expedition was
published, Coronado died in 1554.