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Coronado's Exploration

Preparation of this web site was supported by a grant in 2000 by the Southwestern Foundation for Education and Historical Preservation, Tucson, Arizona. We and a community of Coronado scholars are grateful for this grant. We also thank Coronado scholars Richard and Shirley Flint for helpful comments. The site was designed by hartmann [at] ( William K. Hartmann ) and Ethan Goldman of the Planetary Science Institute , Tucson, Arizona.

Coronado's army arrives at Cibola
Coronado's army arrives at Cibola.   Painting by William K. Hartmann.


Site Summary
This site describes the first European exploration of the modern American Southwest by the Coronado expedition and associated parties in the 1530s and 1540s. The route for the expedition was reconnoitered in 1539 by Father Marcos de Niza, who first recorded the seven cities of Cibola (now known to be the modern pueblo of Zuni, New Mexico. In 1540 Coronado led a huge expedition of around 1000 Spanish and native allies from Compostela, Mexico, north through Sonora and southeast Arizona, to Zuni. Side parties discovered the Grand Canyon, the Colorado river crossing near Yuma, and the Hopi pueblos or northern Arizona. Disappointed by lack of gold or transportable wealth, the army reached and occupied the pueblos near Albuquerque, New Mexico, and eventually traveled as far as Kansas, in 1541-42. Ironically, the expedition was regarded as a failure because it brought back no gold.

This site describes the circumstances of the expedition, the route, the personalities of the main players, several recently discovered campsites of the expedition, artifacts left by the expedition, and ongoing mysteries about the location of their route.


Prickly Pear Cactus
Last modified: January 2, 2001
Site designed by Ethan Goldman
Prickly Pear Cactus

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