Today in Texas History – April 22

From the Annals of the Conquistadors – In 1540, Francisco Vázquez de Coronado left Culiacán in charge of an expedition to search for the fabled Seven Cities of Cíbola.  The quest was sparked by tales from Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca who with his other companions (including Estavanico) had wandered for several years in their attempts to return to New Spain after being shipwrecked in Texas.  Cibola did exist, but the “cities” were not made of gold.  Rather they were Zuñi villages in western New Mexico including the spectacular “Sky City” pueblo at Acoma.  Undeterred, Coronado set out in search of Quivira a region to the east also rumored to be rich in gold and silver. Coronado wandered somewhat aimlessly across the Llano Estacado and parts of the Great Plains discovering Palo Duro Canyon, but never found any riches.  Upon his return, Coronado was held to account for the failed expedition and his conduct 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.

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