Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Coronado, Francisco Vásquez de

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CORONADO, Francisco Vásquez de (cor-o-nah'-do), Spanish explorer, b. in Salamanca, Spain, about 1510; d. in 1542. On the arrival in Culiacán of Cabeza de Vaca from his journey from Florida in 1536, when he brought news of the existence of half-civilized tribes far to the north, an expedition was sent out under Marco de Niza, in 1539, to explore that region. On its return, a second expedition was fitted out under Coronado, which departed from Culiacán, on the Pacific coast, in April, 1540. He passed up the entire length of what is now the state of Sonora to the river Gila. Crossing this, he penetrated the country beyond to the Little Colorado, and visited the famed cities of Cibola mentioned by Cabeza de Vaca and De Niza. In the kingdom were seven cities. The country, he says, was too cold for cotton, yet the people all wore mantles of it, and cotton yarn was found in their houses. He also found maize, Guinea cocks, peas, and dressed skins. From Cibola, Coronado travelled eastward, visiting several towns, similar to the existing villages of the Pueblo Indians, till he reached the Rio Grande, and from there travelled 300 leagues to Quivira, the ruins of which are well known, being near lat. 34° N., about 170 miles from El Paso. There he found a temperate climate, with good water and an abundance of fruit. The people were clothed in skins. On his way back in March, 1542, Coronado fell from his horse at Tiguex, near the Rio Grande, and is said to have become insane. The viceroy Mendoza wished a colony to be founded in the regions visited; but the commander of the expedition did not wish to leave any of his party in so poor a country and at so great a distance from succor. The narrative of this expedition furnishes the first authentic account of the buffalo, or American bison, and the great prairies and plains of New Mexico. Drawings of the cities and houses built by the Indians were sent to Spain with Coronado's report.