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Vásquez's attack on North American Natives

1540-1542

Starting in Mexico, Francisco Vásquez de Coronado* entered what is now the United States near the bend at the bottom edge of Arizona.  Vásquez along with around 100 men* headed north ahead of the others.  Encountering several villages of small and medium size, Vásquez was sure Cibola existed further north.  Reaching the pueblo villages of Hawikuh and Halona (now Zuni, New Mexico), Vásquez felt the Cibola he searched for had been found.  The people resisted and fought back with fervor.  Undaunted, Vásquez's army powered with crossbows proved their superiority over the bow and arrow, continuing to fight until he overpowered the village.  In the aftermath, the gold he sought was not there.

Based on rumors of the riches at the Kingdom of Tequayo, Vásquez followed the Rio Grande to the east.  Instead of a kingdom, Vásquez found the mud villages of the Tewa natives.  Frustrated by not discovering the riches he hoped for, Vásquez camped out while sending out excursions in all directions.  To the north, Cicuye To the south, Albuquerque.  Areas around Albuquerque and as far as the Grand Canyon were searched for the fabled riches without luck.

To the northeast of Albuquerque, Vásquez came to the Kuauna pueblo near Bernalillo, a pueblo village having more than 1,100 rooms.  Angered by resistance, Vásquez killed and took prisoners.  Still no riches.

Survivors hid waiting for Vásquez to leave the area.  It is said that around this time, one of the prisoners let it be known that he knew of a place where the riches did exist called Quivara  Some speculate it was a plot to lead Vásquez away.

The expedition entered Texas to the pueblo of Floydada, where another battle ensued.  At the end of the battle, still no gold.  At this point, Vásquez was frustrated, his troops tired.  It was clear that 2,000 troops weren't needed to overcome such small odds.  All but around 30 were sent back to Mexico as Vásquez, the prisoner, and the others headed north, theoretically now in search of Quivara.

The exploration crossed over into Oklahoma approximately at the north east corner of the top of the rectangle, continuing north over the thin strip of Oklahoma into Kansas.

After entering into Kansas, Vásquez visited the areas around Liberal, and on to Lyons without any gold or riches.

The prisoner's fabled Quivira story was looking thin.  His purpose served and seeing the end, he admitted the charade and paid the ultimate price.

Vásquez traveled further to verify the rumors were in prophecy only before returning back along an almost identical path back into Mexico.  It has been speculated that Vásquez may have reached Nebraska, however, there is little evidence to support the claims.  Vásquez's steps were traceable, the exploration left evidence all along the way.  At every battle encounter, the evidence continues to be uncovered 476 years later.

In the end, Vásquez's encounters were no different than his predecessors in the southwest.  Even though the mountain of gold was not discovered, the golden Midwest was.

Additional Reading  Back to the top of this page.

Both Liberal and Lyons, Kansas have Vásquez de Coronado museums.

Coronado National Memorial in Arizona
Coronado State Memorial in New Mexico

Continue Reading  Back to the top of this page.

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