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For this week, an Elevation Certificate Surveyor's look at Arizona's Past.......

Chapter 11 Land Surveyor Weekly From #05: (1540) And now that Coronado was at last master of the famous 'seven cities,' both he and his companions were grievously disappointed. They had found, indeed, an agricultural people, living in stone and adobe houses of several stories, dressed to some extent in cotton, skilled in the preparation of buffalo hides, and various other petty arts, and even having a few turquoises. Yet the kingdom of rich cities had dwindled to a small province of small and poor villages, and the conquest seemed a small achievement for so grand and costly an expedition. Doubtless, however, the Pueblo towns as they were found would have excited much admiration but for the contrast between the reality and the brilliant magnificence of the invaders' expectations. On making inquiries respecting Niza's three frand kingdoms outside of Cibola, they learned that of larata the natives had no knowledge whatever; that Totonteac was said to be a hot lake, with four or five houses and other ruined ones on its shores; and that Acus, a name that had no existence 'with an aspiration nor without,' was probably Acuco, a small town and not a province. Right heartily was the padre provincial cursed by the army for his gross -exaggerations, to which a much harsher term was freely applied.

What Fray Marcos had to say in his own defence does not appear; but Cibola was soon made too hot for the good friar, who was sent back to Sonora, and thence farther south, to appear no more in northern annals. He probably departed with captains Diaz and Gallego, who in August were despatched with orders for the main army under Arellano, who was to join the general, leaving Diaz in command at Sonora, while Gallego should go on to Mexico, carrying Coronado's report of August 3d, as already cited.

Coronado remained at Zuni from July to November. Notwithstanding his disappointment, he had no thought of returning without making additional explorations; and, indeed, there were reports of more distant provinces, where fame and wealth might yet be successfully sought. The most brilliant indications pointed to the east, whither we shall follow the invaders in the next chapter; but information was also obtained about a province of Tusayan, with seven towns, situated some 25 leagues toward the northwest, doubtless the Moqui villages. Before August 3d Captain Tobar, with a small force including seventeen horsemen and Fray Juan Padilla, was sent to explore. Marching for five days through an uninhabited country, this party entered the province by stealth, and approached one of the towns at night. In the morning the surprised inhabitants came out, and after listening to what the strangers had to say, they drew on the ground a line which must not be passed. Then Fray Juan, who had been a soldier in his youth, lost his patience, and said to the captain, @quot;Indeed, I know not for what we have come here.@quot; The Spaniards made a charge; and the natives after losing many lives were defeated, and sued for peace, bringing gifts of food, cotton stuffs, leather, and a few turquoises. They, too, admitted the invaders to their towns, similar to those of Cibola but somewhat larger, and became for the time submissive vassals of the king of Spain. They had their tales to tell of marvellous things beyond, and mentioned a great river, several days' journey down the course of which lived a nation of very tall men. Thereupon Don Pedro returned and reported to the general.

Then Captain Cardenas, who had succeeded Samaniego as maestro de campo, was sent, with twelve men, to seek the great river and the tall men. Being kindly received by the people of Tusayan, who furnished guides, Cardenas marched for twenty days, or fifty leagues as one narrative has it, westward over a desert country, and at last reached the river. But so high were its banks, that though deemed as large as the river that flows past Seville in Spain, and said by the Indians to be over half a league wide, it looked like a mere rivulet flowing three or four leagues below; and so precipitous that in five or six days' journey the Spaniards could find no place where they could get to the water. At the most favorable spot, three men spent a day in the attempt, but only succeeded in descending about one third of the distance. Being advised by the guides that it would be impossible to penetrate farther for want of water, Cardenas returned to Cibola. This was the first visit of Europeans to the great canon of the Colorado, a region but rarely penetrated even in modern times. It was clearly understood by the chroniclers of the expedition that this river, flowing from the north-east to south-south-west, was the Rio del Tizon, discovered by Melchor Diaz near its mouth. No further explorations were attempted in this direction, and the Moqui towns were not revisited by Europeans for more than forty years.

About The Historical Texts

Following is the list of uncopyrighted publications used for the History of Arizona and the Southwest. All can be easily found on-line in PDF format. Sorted by publication date they are:

  1. The Memoir of the Proposed Territory of Arizona - 1857 | By Sylvester Mowry
  2. Arizona and Sonora - 1863 | By Sylvester Mowry
  3. The Territory of Arizona_1874 | By Arizona Legislative Assembly
  4. Resources of Arizona - 1881 | By Arizona Legislative Assembly
  5. The History of Arizona and New Mexico, Volume 17 - 1889 - (Arizona Portion) | By Hubert Howe Bancroft
  6. Titan of Chasms the Grand Canyon - 1906 | By C.A. Higgins, J.W. Powell, Chas.F.Lumins
  7. Reminiscences of a Soldiers Wife - 1907 - (Arizona Portion) | By Ellen McGowan Biddle
  8. The First Through the Grand Canyon - 1915 | By Major John Wesley Powell
  9. The History of Arizona, Volume 1 - 1915 (starting Chapter VII) | By Thomas Edwin Farish
  10. The History of Arizona, Volume 2 - 1915 | By Thomas Edwin Farish
  11. The History of Arizona, Volume 3 - 1916 | By Thomas Edwin Farish
  12. The History of Arizona, Volume 4 - 1916 | By Thomas Edwin Farish
  13. The History of Arizona, Volume 5 - 1918 | By Thomas Edwin Farish
  14. The History of Arizona, Volume 6 - 1918 | By Thomas Edwin Farish
  15. The History of Arizona, Volume 7 - 1918 | By Thomas Edwin Farish
  16. The History Of Arizona, Volume 8 - 1918 | By Thomas Edwin Farish
  17. Arizona the Wonderland - 1917 | By George Wharton James
  18. The Story of Arizona - 1919 | By Will H. Robinson

The majority of the publications listed here were written with the intent to be historically accurate. This is not an attempt to make a point of historical fact by providing this information. It is intended to simply share what is documented about the American Southwest, primarily on the Arizona Territorial area.

There are no living people to speak for the time period related here. We must use recorded information to look into that era. The point-of-view of today is different from those living then. The intent here is not to provide an opinion. If one spends time reading the material listed, it will be enlightening as to life in the untamed Territory of Arizona as it was in the minds of the people of at that era.

Regarding the stories of the all of people in the Territory of Arizona it can bring out all emotions. From sympathy to anger and sadness to admiration, you will feel something. It is difficult to imagine what it would be like to be living here, or traveling through, at different times in the past. It is hopeful that all will find a least find some amusement looking through the window of the past provided here.


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