Biography of Francisco Vazquez de Coronado

Francisco Vazquez de Coronado was born into a nobel family in Spain in 1510. He accompanied a family friend who had been appointed the first viceroy of New Spain. Upon his arrival in New Spain (Mexico) he married the daughter of the Spanish treasurer of the territory. Coronado helped put down a major slave rebellion and then went on to become a provincial governor. Coronado however, wanted more. Rumors had been circulating for years about seven cities of gold. Coronado believed those cities to be north and wanted to lead a royal expedition to find those cities. He assembled a large force of 300 Spanish soldiers and 1,000 local Indians. In the spring of 1540 they headed north into what is now Northern Mexico and southern Texas.

The first Native American that they encountered were the Zunni pueblo. When Coronado announced that they would have to obey him or be enslaved the Zunnit responded by firing arrows at the Spanish. After defeating the Zunni, Coronado found no gold, just a relatively poor Indian tribe. Coronado and his men then explored large parts of the Southwest, including much of what is today New Mexico and Arizona. Coronado explored the Grand Canyon. After sending the majority of his party back to Mexico, Coronado led a smaller group north to find the mythical city of Quivira. He traveled as far as what it today Kansas, only to find a poor Indian tribe. Coronado returned to Mexico, his expedition considered a failure since he had not found the mythical gold. Coronado resumed his job as governor. He left that position in 1544 and moved to Mexico City were he remained until his death in 1554.