Viceroy to lead an army of conquistadors to find the treasure. Conquistador comes from the word conquer, which means to overcome. It was the name given to the Spanish soldiers. The search for Cibola: Seven Cities of Gold Have you ever been on a “wild goose” chase? If you have, you know that it means you have spent a lot of time and trouble looking for something that was never there. It was a wild goose chase that brought the first Spanish explorers to the land that would become Arizona over 460 years ago. The wild goose was gold. It was the first time European explorers would come to Arizona looking for riches, but it would not be the last. The search for the Seven Cities of Cibola was one of the biggest dreams of riches that anyone ever had. The fabulous seven cities The story that Fray Marcos de Niza told was wonderful and exciting. He said he saw seven cities with buildings ten stories high. The houses had doors made of sky-blue turquoise. The people living in these cities wore bright green emeralds around their necks. They had bead necklaces of shiny gold and giant creamy white pearls. When they ate dinner, they used knives and forks made of pure gold and silver. No one knows if Fray Marcos really believed the story— or if he only hoped that it was true. Coronado’s search for riches A young man named Francisco Vásquez de Coronado heard the story—and believed it. Coronado had come to Mexico from Spain a few years before and married a beautiful rich woman. He became the mayor of the coastal town of Compostela. In June 1539, Fray Marcos de Niza returned with his stories of Cibola. The Viceroy of New Spain now assigned Francisco Vásquez de Coronado to lead a great expedition of conquest for “the Glory of God and Spain.” Francisco Vásquez de Coronado was the second son of Juan Vásquez de Coronado and Isabel de Lujan. He was born sometime in 1510 in the Spanish town of Salamanca. At the age of 25 he sailed to New Spain with Viceroy Antonio de Mendoza. He soon married Beatriz de Estrada and the couple would have one son and four daughters. Chapter 5 • The Second People: Explorers and Settlers  53