History & Culture

A painting depicting Coronado, Spanish horsemen, and Aztec Indians
The Coronado Expedition
Coronado National Memorial was established to commemorate and interpret the Coronado Expedition of 1540-1542. While there is no physical evidence that Coronado or the expedition members passed through the present memorial, the park offers a sweeping view of the San Pedro River which is widely regarded as the corridor that the expedition passed through on their way to points north including Cíbola and the mythical seven cities of gold in present-day New Mexico.

Due to the passage of time and the lack of archaeological evidence, the specific route of the Coronado Expedition remains largely a mystery. However, historians and archaeologists have constructed multiple routes from artifacts found on the landscape and from interpreting historical journals. Dr. Joseph Sánchez of the Spanish Colonial Research Center at the University of New Mexico has written a scholarly passage describing the expedition's movement through what is now Sonora and Arizona. Learn more about the historiography of the Coronado Expedition through Sonora and Arizona.

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