Francisco Vásquez de Coronado (1510-1554) was a Spanish ruler, explorer and conquistador. He was the first European to explore North America’s Southwest.
Coronado was a governor of New Galicia, a western province of Mexico. He searched fruitlessly for treasure that was rumored to exist in northern Mexico: the fabled seven Golden Cities of Cibola. With a group of hundreds of Spaniards and enslaved natives, he traveled through what is now northern Mexico and the southwestern USA (including Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas). His expedition found only Zuñi, Hopi, and Pueblos, native Americans who repelled Coronado when he demanded that they convert to Christianity. Coronado killed many native Americans during this expedition. Since he did not find gold, silver, or other treasures, his expedition was branded a failure by Spanish leaders.