This weighty volume draws on five years of research in Mexican and Spanish archives and is the latest installment in the authors' decades-long effort to document the expedition of Francisco Vázquez de Coronado. Between 1540 and 1542, Coronado served as captain general of an exploratory and settlement venture to the upper Rio Grande and southern Plains. According to Richard Flint and Shirley Cushing Flint, sixteenth-century Europeans believed this region to be a continuation of the Asian continent. Indeed, the book derives much of its analytical momentum from this insight, arguing that the pursuit of the mythical cities of Cíbola was actually an attempt, masterminded by not Coronado but Antonio de Mendoza, New Spain's first viceroy, to discover a westerly route to the riches of Asia and to colonize that landmass for Spain.

The text presents a group biography of the expedition members,...

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