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The Seven Cities of Cibola

The Seven Cities of Cibola were seven legendary cities that, according to some, is now the area of Southwestern United States. (I will discuss my reasonings a little later.) There were rumors among the Spanish explorers that these, fabled cities, were rich in gold, silver, and precious jewels. Indians in northern Mexico fueled this belief as they told stories to the Spanish explorers about a rich civilization to the north. Soon, in 1539, an expedition led by Marcos de Niza, a Spanish priest, was sent to explore the land in the north. Niza sent a black guide named Estevanico ahead to seek information from the Indians. They told Estevanico about seven rich cities in a land they called Cibola. Estevanico reached Hawikuh, the largest of six Zuni villages near what is now Gallup, New Mexico. The Zuni killed him outside Hawikuh. Niza claimed that he saw Hawikuh from a distance and said the village appeared large and wealthy. His report led to an expedition headed by Francisco Vasquez de Coronado in 1540 to conquer the villages and claim their wealth for Spain. Coronado captured the six villages and called them Cibola. He found no riches there, however, and returned to Mexico in 1542.

So, we know then that Atzlan is the legendary homeland of the Aztec people, and the Seven Cities of Cibola or sometimes referred to as the "City of Cibola" was the location where the Aztec's supposedly began life ((The origins of life for Aztecs describes the first people as emerging from seven caves)). I do not believe that Cibola is just one location, but as the title suggests, seven, closely positioned areas. It is stated in many codex's' that they then traveled north to their new homeland. Assuming that you have visited all of my links, you have read that some archeologists believe that this city is placed at "La Quemada," in the city of Zacatecas, Zacatecas in northern México. However, I think that although well thought out and founded, this concept is flawed. I do believe that this city was a strategic outpost for the Aztec's on their journey's back and forth from México to their homeland and for trade from México to the, what is now known as the southern United States, BUT, I have learned that, at least ONE of the cities of Cibola was only 30 leagues or 90 miles south of their homeland. Through my own calculations I put the area of Cibola, if in fact it did actually exist, around central Arizona possibly extending west towards New Mexico. One of the major factors in my thinking is what I have read from this article found in the account of the expedition to Cibola in the year 1540, written by Pedro de Castaneda, of Najara. "The Journey of Coronado."
"AFTER Stephen [Esteban] had left the friars, he thought he could get all the reputation and honor himself, and that if he should discover those settlements with such famous high houses, alone, he would be considered bold and courageous. So he proceeded with the people who had followed him, and attempted to cross the wilderness which lies between the country he had passed through and Cibola. He was so far ahead of the friars that, when these reached Chichilticalli, which is on the edge of the wilderness, he was already at Cibola, which is 80 leagues beyond. It is 220 leagues from Culiacan to the edge of the wilderness, and 80 across the desert, which makes 300, or perhaps 10 more or less. As I said, Stephen [Esteban] reached Cibola laden with the large quantity of turquoises they had given him and some beautiful women whom the Indians who followed him and carried his things were taking with them and had given him. These had followed him from all the settlements he had passed, believing that under his protection they could traverse the whole world without any danger."

First of all, 300 leagues equals 900 miles. The other factor is that there are 10 leagues to give or take. That equals 30 miles north or south. We know that northern routes had already long been established and that one of these routes hit La Quemada to Casas Grande and up through the Canyon de Chelly. However, since it is stated that they traveled through wilderness and we know that the origin of his trip was at Culiacan, Sinaloa MX, the likelihood of them following this route, due to the dryness and the fact that they would have to cross the Sierra Madre Occidental first, is not very good. They traveled 220 leagues or 660 miles to the end of the wilderness, which we could plausibly assume to be the end of the Sierra Madre Occidental and then followed 80 more leagues or 240 miles across the desert which could likely be southern and central Arizona. It is exactly 243.18 miles from Lukeville, Arizona to Sedona, Arizona. Another little fact is that there is a city by Hermosillo, between Culiacan and Lukeville, called Montezuma. This probably signifies that Aztec's migrated through this area frequently.