NPS / Nevin Kempthorne
Coronado's Seven Cities
Early in the 16th century, Spain established a rich colonial empire in the New World. From Mexico to Peru, gold poured into her treasury and new lands were opened for settlement. The northern frontier lay only a few hundred miles north of Mexico City; and beyond that was a land unknown. Tales of unimaginable riches in this land had fired the Spanish imagination ever since Spain's discovery of the "New World". They lured Hernando Cortéz to Mexico in 1519, followed shortly thereafter by Parfilo de Narváez to Florida and Francisco Pizarro to Peru. Many expeditions ended in failure, but there were enough successes to keep alive the dream that great wealth lay within the grasp of anyone with the opportunity to seize it.