Francisco Vasquez de Coronado
Born in the year 1510, Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, belonged to a respected family of Salamanca, Spain and was the second son of his parents. Being of a Spanish origin, Francisco Vasquez de Coronado travelled through parts that lie in the South west of the USA, in the years between 1540 and 1542. He was a well known explorer and conqueror of his time who aimed at ruling over the mythological "Seven Cities of Gold".
At the age of 25 years Coronado went to Mexico and took Beatriz de Estrada's hand in marriage which brought under him a considerable amount of the estate in Mexico, as a marriage gift. He had eight children with his wife. He conquered and governed the Nueva Galicia province in Spain. He sent men like Marcos de Niza to various expeditions in the hope of conquering new territory and more wealth.
During his famous "Conquest of Cibola", he was injured and took refuge with the Zunis. However, even during this time, he sent various expeditions to different parts of the region although in such expeditions, the Spanish were often intentionally misled by their Hopi guiders.
Out of the various leaders whom he had sent out for expeditions, Alarcon, Diaz and Cardenas managed to reach the Colorado River. Alvardo, another leader under him found himself involved in the Tiguex War which killed many Americans and is an event that is still remembered along with the name and career of Coronado.
Coronado's return to New Mexico after his expedition at Quivira marked the end of his adventures. Falling from his horse in the December of 1541 had severely injured him and he was forced to return to his homeland. His expedition had clearly failed.
The worst part was that he was unable to find the wealth that he had set out for and in the bargain most of the money that he had was also lost in his adventurous ventures. He was on the brink of bankruptcy by the time he returned home. Till 1544, he retained his position of being the Governor. On the 22nd of September, 1554 he breathed his last in Mexico City.
Years later it was discovered that in spite of the great loss of life and property that Coronado's expeditions had caused, he failed to leave much influence in terms of culture on those whom he had wanted to conquer. However, his fame and achievements are undeniable and the name of Francisco Vasquez de Coronado is still alive in the names of many parks and forests.
The nickname 'Conquistador' given to the Community College in Dodge City is homage to Coronado's greatness. The Coronado National Memorial established in 1952 near Sierra Viosta, the Coronado National Forest in Arizona, and the island named Coronado in San Diego are some other examples of his memory that still lives on.