Hello. I am Francisco Vasquez de Coronado. I was born in Salamanca, Spain. I left home because my parents promised the family fortune to my older brother.
In 1535, I sailed to Mexico with Antonio de Mendoza, the colony’s first Admiral. I became one of the governors of New Galacia (one of the Spanish colonies in the New World).
Searching for the Seven Cities of Gold
Between 1536 and 1539, Admiral Mendoza heard stories about the Seven Cities of Cibolo, the Seven Cities of Gold where the streets and houses were made of gold and jewels. He sent me on an expedition to find them and claim the wealth for Spain.
In 1540 I set out with 300 soldiers and about 1,000 Indians. I led my army into what would later become Arizona and New Mexico. I found and captured a settlement of Zuni Indians, which I considered to be the city of Cibolo. I found no sign of riches.
Searching the Southwestern United States
Some of my army camped in the villages of Cibolo and some made separate trips to find the cities of gold. We visited the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico. We were the first Europeans to travel up the Rio Grande. We found many Indian settlements and discovered the Grand Canyon. My army spent the winter of 1540 in Tiquex, a Pueblo village on the Rio Grande.
In spring I led my army south across what is now Texas. I went to Kansas in search of the Gran Quivera, a land reported to be rich in gold and silver. We were the first Europeans to explore all of the southwestern part of the United States, but we did not find gold.
Return to New Galacia
Discouraged, we returned to Tiguex during the winter of 1541 and later returned to New Galacia. Admiral Mendoza wasn’t happy that we returned without any riches, but he realized that I had worked very hard. He made me governor of part of New Spain.
I was later accused of abusing the Indians. All charges were eventually removed, but I lost my place as governor. I wasn’t very healthy at the time. I became an official in the government of Mexico City, but my health continued to fail.
Coronado died soon after in 1552.
Who Goes There: European Exploration of the New World