Spanish Explorations 1513–1605

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Map Code: Ax00654

Spanish expeditions into North America paled by comparison with the spectacular, and fabulously lucrative, conquests of the Aztecs in Mexico and the Incas of South America. The Spanish Crown seemed to think so, and was willing to trade its North American territories in treaties with other European powers of the time. Spanish explorers quested for riches to match the feats of Cortes and Pizarro. De Soto (1539–42) explored from the Mississippi and North Carolina in search of gold and a trade route to China. Coronado (1539–40) reached Arizona in pursuit of the fabled ‘Cities of Cibola’, which were meant to be filled with gold. Onate (1598–1605) founded Santa Fe, massacred the Pueblo Indians, and searched for the opulent land of ‘Quivira’, Coronado had described. At sea, the explorers, De Leon, De Ulloa and Pineda charted the northern coastlines of the Gulf of Mexico, and of the Mexican Pacific.

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