The story of our family...for my sons

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Francisco Vasquez De Coronado...another explorer in the family

Most of you who will read about our family will say that I'm making up all these famous members of our two families up. Sorry, but genealogy doesn't lie, so test it for yourself. We may be a "poor" family now, but our wealth is in "experience".

Francisco Vásquez de Coronado y Luján (Aaron and Joshua's 15th great grandfather) (1510 – 22 September 1554) was a Spanish conquistador, who visited New Mexico and other parts of what are now the southwestern United States between 1540 and 1542. Coronado had hoped to conquer the mythical Seven Cities of Gold.

Coronado was born into a noble family in Salamanca, Spain, in 1510, the second son of Juan Vásquez de Coronado y Sosa de Ulloa and Isabel de Luján. Juan Vásquez held various positions in the administration of the recently captured Emirate of Granada under Iñigo López de Mendoza, its first Spanish governor.

Francisco Vásquez de Coronado went to Mexico in 1535 at about age 25, in the entourage of its first Viceroy, Antonio de Mendoza, the son of his father's patron who had died. In Mexico, he married Beatriz de Estrada, called the Saint (la Santa), sister of Leonor de Estrada, ancestor of the de Alvarado family and daughter of Treasurer and Governor Alonso de Estrada y Hidalgo, Lord of Picón, and wife Marina Flores Gutiérrez de la Caballería, from a converso Jewish family. Coronado inherited a large portion of a Mexican estate from Beatriz and had eight children by her.

Coronado was the Governor of the Kingdom of Nueva Galicia (New Galicia, a province of New Spain located northwest of Mexico and comprising the contemporary Mexican states of Jalisco, Sinaloa and Nayarit). In 1539, he dispatched Friar Marcos de Niza and Estevanico, more properly known as Estevan, the diminutive form being a Spanish nickname. Estevan was a survivor of the Narváez expedition, on an expedition north from Compostela, in the present state of Nayarit, toward New Mexico. When Marcos de Niza returned, he told about a city of vast wealth, a golden city called Cíbola, and that Estevan had been killed by the Zuni citizens of Cíbola. Though he did not claim to have entered the city of Cíbola, he claimed that the city stood on a high hill, that it appeared wealthy and as large as Mexico City.

Coronado assembled an expedition with two components. One component carried the bulk of the expedition's supplies, and traveled via the Guadalupe River under the leadership of Hernando de Alarcon. The other component traveled by land, along the trail Friar Marcos de Niza had used. Coronado and Viceroy Antonio de Mendoza invested large sums of their own money in the venture. Mendoza, Coronado's friend and fellow investor, appointed him as the commander of the expedition, with the mission to find the seven golden cities. This is the reason he pawned his wife's estates and was lent 70,000 more pesos ($5,630 in today's pesos).

In the autumn of 1539, Viceroy Mendoza ordered Melchor Diaz, the commander of San Miguel de Culiacán, to investigate Friar de Niza's findings, and on November 17, 1539, Diaz departed on the trail to Cíbola, with fifteen horsemen. At the ruins of Chichilticalli, he turned around because of "snows and fierce winds from across the wilderness". Diaz encountered Coronado before he had departed San Miguel de Culiacán, and reported that initial investigations into Friar de Niza's report disproved the existence of a bountiful land. Diaz' report was delivered to Viceroy Mendoza on March 20, 1540.

Coronado set out from Compostela on February 23, 1540, at the head of a large expedition composed of about 400 European men-at-arms (mostly Spaniards), 1,300 to 2,000 Mexican Indian allies, four Franciscan monks (the most notable of whom were Juan de Padilla and the newly appointed provincial superior of the Franciscan order in the New World, Marcos de Niza), and several slaves, both natives and Africans. There also were many other family members and servants.

He followed the Sinaloan coast northward, keeping the Sea of Cortez to his left until he reached the northernmost Spanish settlement, San Miguel de Culiacán, about March 28, 1540, whereupon he rested his expedition before they began trekking the inland trail on April 22, 1540.[6] Aside from Diaz's mission to verify Fray de Niza's report, he also took notice of the forage and food situation along the trail, and he reported that the land along the route would not be able to support a large concentrated body of soldiers and animals. Coronado decided to divide his expedition into small groups and time their departures so that grazing lands and water holes along the trail could recover. At intervals along the trail, Coronado established camps and garrisoned soldiers to keep the supply route open. For example, in September, 1540, Melchior Diaz along with "seventy or eighty of the weakest and least reliable men" in Coronado's army remained at the town of San Hieronimo, in the valley of Corazones, or Hearts.[7] Once the scouting and planning was done, Coronado led the first group of soldiers up the trail. They were horsemen and foot soldiers who were able to travel quickly, while the main bulk of the expedition would set out later.

After "leaving Culiacan on April 22, Coronado followed the coast, "bearing off to the left," as Mota Padilla says, by an extremely rough way, to the Sinaloa. The configuration of the country made it necessary to follow up the valley of this stream until he could find a passage across the mountains to the course of the Yaquimi. He traveled alongside this stream for some distance, then crossed to Sonora river. The Sonora was followed nearly to its source before a pass was discovered. On the southern side of the mountains he found a stream he called the Nexpa, which may have been either the Santa Cruz or the Pedro of modern maps. The party followed down this river valley until they reached the edge of the wilderness, where, as Friar Marcos had described it to them, they found Chichilticalli.[8] Chichilticalli is in southern Arizona in the Sulfur Springs Valley, within the bend of the Dos Cabeza and Chiricahua Mountains. This fits the chronicle of Laus Deo description, which reports that "at Chichilticalli the country changes its character again and the spiky vegetation ceases. The reason is that . . . the mountain chain changes its direction at the same time that the coast does. Here they had to cross and pass the mountains in order to get into the level country."[9] There he met a crushing disappointment. Cíbola was nothing like the great golden city that Marcos had described. Instead, it was just a complex of simple pueblos constructed by the Zuni Indians. The soldiers were upset with Marcos for his mendacious imagination, so Coronado sent him back to Mexico in disgrace.

It should be noted that the accompaning map has become outdated since it was created. On-the-ground research strongly indicates that Coronado traveled north between Chichiticalli and Zuni primarily on the New Mexico side of the state line, not the Arizona side as has been thought since the 1940s. Also, most scholars believe Quivira was near the great bend of the Arkansas river, about 60 miles southwest of the location on the Kansas River depicted on the map.
Conquest of Cíbola

Coronado traveled north on one side or the other of today's Arizona-New Mexico state line, and from the headwaters of the Little Colorado he continued on until he came to the Zuni River. He followed the Zuni until he found the region inhabited by the Zunis. The members of the expedition were almost starving and demanded entrance into the village of Hawikuh, which the Zuni spell as Hawikku. The natives refused, denying the expedition entrance to the village. Coronado and his expeditionaries attacked the Zunis. The ensuing skirmish constituted the extent of what can be called the Spanish "Conquest of Cíbola." During the battle, Coronado was injured. During the weeks the expedition stayed at Zuni, he sent out several scouting more:

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