From the Annals of the Conquistadors – In 1540, the Spanish Viceroy of Mexico, Antonio de Mendoza, commissioned Francisco Vázquez de Coronado to lead an expedition to search for the Seven Cities of Cíbola. The Spanish were intrigued by the report of Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca who had described the cities after finding his way back to New Spain following his long wandering through Texas, New Mexico and northern Mexico. Another explorer, Marcos de Niza, later confirmed Cabeza de Vaca’s report. Coronado and 1,000 men set out from Culiacan April of 1540 and he did not return for more than two years. He found Cíbola – but they were the Pueblos of western New Mexico and there was no gold. Undaunted, he was induced by the captive El Turco to search for gold in Quivira located somewhere in present day Kansas. Quivira turned out to be a village of the Plains Indians eking out a subsistence living. in his wanderings, Coronado did explore the Llano Estacado in the Panhandle and Eastern New Mexico and “discovered” Palo Duro Canyon and the Caprock in West Texas.
Photo from the top of the Caprock in Caprock Canyon State Park.