Seven Cities of Cíbola

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Seven Cities of Cíbola

Seven Cities of Cíbola, the first name given to New Mexico. The reference to Cíbola dates back to the medieval legend of the seven bishops who fled the Iberian Peninsula and founded the Seven Cities of Cíbola, noted for their gold, on the island of Antillia in 734, after Don Rodrigo of Spain lost his kingdom to the Moors in 714 ce. In 1539 Fray Marcos de Niza set out from Mexico City to seek the Seven Cities in the northern territories that Cabeza De Vaca had visited. Estevanico, the African slave in Cabeza de Vaca's party, led the expedition and was instructed to send back crosses whose size would indicate the significance of the towns. Estevanico was killed when he insisted on entering the Zuni village of Hawikuh. On his return, Fray Marcos described a kingdom that exceeded Mexico and Peru in size and wealth. This news prompted Viceroy Antonio de Mendoza to send Francisco Vásquez de Coronado to conquer Cíbola in April 1540.

See alsoNew Mexico .


Carl O. Sauer, The Road to Cibola (1932).

Stephen Clissold, The Seven Cities of Cibola (1962).

John Upton Terrell, Estevanico the Black (1968).

Maureen Ahern, "The Cross and the Gourd: The Appropriation of Ritual Signs in the Relaciones of Alvar Núñez and Fray Marcos de Niza," in Early Images of the Americas: Transfer and Invention, edited by Jerry M. Williams and Robert E. Lewis (1993).

Additional Bibliography

Verdugo Montoya, Laura Beatriz. El país del más allá: Las siete ciudades de Cibola y Quivira. Culiacán Rosales: Colegio de Bachilleres del Estado de Sinaloa, 1995.

                                            JosÉ Rabasa