Cíbola, Seven Cities of

Legendary cities of splendour and riches sought by Spanish conquistadores in North America during the 16th century.

The cities were first reported by Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, who was shipwrecked off Florida in 1528 and who wandered through what later became Texas and northern Mexico before his rescue in 1536. Expeditions sent to search for the cities were unsuccessful; one led by Francisco Vázquez de Coronado in 1540 located a group of Zuni pueblos but failed to find vast treasures.

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▪ legendary cities, North America
Spanish  Las Siete Ciudades de Cíbola 

      legendary cities of splendour and riches sought in the 16th century by Spanish conquistadores in North America. The fabulous cities were first reported by Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca (Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, Álvar) who, after being shipwrecked off Florida in 1528, had wandered through what later became Texas and northern Mexico before his rescue in 1536. The viceroy of New Spain (New Spain, Viceroyalty of), Antonio de Mendoza, sent an expedition in 1539 under Estéban, a black slave who had been shipwrecked with Cabeza de Vaca, and Fray Marcos de Niza (Niza, Marcos de) to verify de Vaca's reports. Fray Marcos, assured of the cities' existence by an Indian informant, claimed to have seen them in the distance. In 1540 Mendoza dispatched Francisco Vázquez de Coronado (Coronado, Francisco Vázquez de) to search for the cities. Instead of finding the legendary cities, though, Coronado encountered only Indian settlements—including the Zuni Pueblos, which originally had inspired the false legend—even though he explored as far north as modern Kansas.

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Universalium. 2010.

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