Vázquez de Coronado, Francisco (1510–1554)

By: David Donoghue

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: August 5, 2020

Francisco Vázquez de Coronado, explorer and governor, son of Juan Vázquez de Coronado and Isabel de Luján, was born at Salamanca, Spain, in 1510. In 1535 he accompanied Viceroy Antonio de Mendoza to Mexico, where he married Beatriz de Estrada; they had one son and four daughters. Coronado was appointed in 1538 to the city council of Mexico City and to the governorship of Nueva Galicia, a province with four principal villages-Guadalajara, Compostela, Purificación, and Culiacán. On January 6, 1540, Mendoza appointed Coronado to lead an expedition to the Seven Cities of Cíbola, concerning which wondrous tales had been brought to Mexico by Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca. On April 22, 1540, Coronado left Culiacán for the north. There was no gold at Cíbola (the Zuñi villages in western New Mexico), but he was led on by stories of great rewards to be found in Quivira, a region on the Great Plains far to the east. Chasing this chimera occupied Coronado until the early part of 1542. When he returned to Mexico he was subjected to an official examination of his conduct as leader of the expedition and 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. In Mexico City he served as councilman until his death, on September 22, 1554. He was buried in Santo Domingo Church, Mexico City. See also CORONADO EXPEDITION.

Herbert Eugene Bolton, Coronado: Knight of Pueblos and Plains (New York: Whittlesey; Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1949). David Donoghue, "The Route of the Coronado Expedition in Texas," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 32 (January 1929). Dianna Everett, ed., Coronado and the Myth of Quivira (Canyon, Texas: Panhandle-Plains Historical Society, 1985). George P. Hammond, Coronado's Seven Cities (Albuquerque: U.S. Coronado Expedition Committee, 1940). Stewart L. Udall, "In Coronado's Footsteps," Arizona Highways, April 1984. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. J. W. Williams, "Coronado, from the Rio Grande to the Concho," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 63 (October 1959). Norma Clay Wright, The Coronado Expedition (Ph.D. dissertation, New Mexico Highlands University, 1957).

  • Exploration
  • Explorers (Spanish)
Time Periods:
  • Spanish Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

David Donoghue, “Vázquez de Coronado, Francisco,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 07, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/vazquez-de-coronado-francisco.

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August 5, 2020

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