Coronado departs Culiacán in search of Seven Cities of Cíbola

April 22nd, 1540

On this day in 1540, an expedition led by Spanish explorer Francisco Vázquez de Coronado left Culiacán in Mexico in search of the Seven Cities of Cíbola, concerning which wondrous tales had been brought to Mexico by Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca. There was no gold at Cíbola (the Zuñi villages in western New Mexico), but the explorer was led on by stories of great rewards to be found in Quivira, a region on the Great Plains far to the east. Chasing this chimera occupied Coronado until the early part of 1542; along the way he apparently marched across the Llano Estacado of eastern New Mexico and the Texas Panhandle, passing through present Palo Duro Canyon. When he returned to Mexico he was subjected to an official examination of his conduct as leader of the expedition and as governor of Nueva Galicia. He was cleared of charges in connection with the expedition, but on some of the other charges was fined and lost his commission. He died in 1554.

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Coronado departs Culiacán in search of Seven Cities of Cíbola

April 22nd, 1540

On this day in 1540, an expedition led by Spanish explorer Francisco Vázquez de Coronado left Culiacán in Mexico in search of the Seven Cities of Cíbola, concerning which wondrous tales had been brought to Mexico by Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca. There was no gold at Cíbola (the Zuñi villages in western New Mexico), but the explorer was led on by stories of great rewards to be found in Quivira, a region on the Great Plains far to the east. Chasing this chimera occupied Coronado until the early part of 1542; along the way he apparently marched across the Llano Estacado of eastern New Mexico and the Texas Panhandle, passing through present Palo Duro Canyon. When he returned to Mexico he was subjected to an official examination of his conduct as leader of the expedition and as governor of Nueva Galicia. He was cleared of charges in connection with the expedition, but on some of the other charges was fined and lost his commission. He died in 1554.

«   Previous Next   »

Related Handbook of Texas Articles

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With more than 27,000 articles about Texas history, the Texas State Historical Association's Handbook of Texas is the largest online encyclopedia about all things Texas. Now you can celebrate the history of Texas every day by activating your free subscription to Texas Day by Day. Each day's email tells a little bit more of the story of Texas and links to our collection of more than 27,000 articles. It's one of the best ways to learn more about Texas history — in only 15 minutes a day!

Activate your free subscription to Texas Day by Day and you can:

  • Explore Texas history each day in bite-sized pieces conveniently delivered to your inbox each morning
  • Astound your friends with your Texas history prowess
  • Get in-depth looks at some of the overlooked events and landmarks in Texas history
  • Discover new places to explore in the Lone Star State
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