Cortes' conquest of Mexico City around 1520 and Coronado's journey to the Seven Cities of Cibola
in 1540 are stories almost always told in different books with different characters and different plots, says Hartmann, but in fact they are intimately tied together, and the race between the two conquistadors drove the initial European exploration of what is now the American Southwest.
With sights set on the fabled seven cities of Cibola
, Francisco Vazquez de Coronado and his conquistadores bivouacked at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains near the confluence of Glorieta Creek and the Pecos River in the presence of an Indian Pueblo in 1541.
Mendoza: Friar Marcos has seen one of the Seven Cities of Cibola
! You must seize those cities for our King.
Spanish explorers sought the fabled Seven Cities of Cibola
, mistakenly thought to have treasures of gold and silver, but which possessed only poor broken-down pueblos.
Another park that tells the story of the early Spanish exploration of the American Southwest, Coronado National Memorial marks the countryside where explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coronado first led his detachment into Arizona in 1540 during the search for the fabled "Seven Cities of Cibola
." Although the cities were said to be "large ...
Currently, however, the land sits mostly empty except for a four-ton Mexican flag on an enormous pole, a symbol perhaps of the battle standard carried by Francisco de Coronado on his search for the Seven Cities of Cibola
. Vergara's groundbreaking was delayed several times before finally taking place earlier this year.
During the colonial period, when thick veins of ore in the nearby hills made the town as rich as the fabled Seven Cities of Cibola
, palatial mansions and ornate churches exploded across the Hill of Moctezuma, to which the town still clings, like Roman candles on a dark night.
They were probably the first white men to see buffalo, and their stories of the Pueblo Indians fed legends of the Seven Cities of Cibola
and El Dorado.
While popularly held to be influenced by medieval legends regarding the Seven Cities of Cibola
, the author asserts that the motivation was instead the strong influence of Mesoamerican historical memories of Aztlan, the mythological place of origin.