Compostela & Surrounding Areas Topography

Compostela & Surrounding Areas Topography

Report from Coronado contradicting Fray Marcos de Niza’s accounts of the land outside of Compostela

Vital Stats: “From the people here, he learned that there was nothing to be found in the country beyond except the mountains, which continued to be entirely uninhabited by people.”

“We all marched cheerfully along a very bad way, where it was impossible to pass without making a new road or repairing the one that was there, which troubled the soldiers not a little, considering that everything which the friar had said was found to be quite the reverse.”

“And the truth is that there are mountains where, however well the path might be fixed, they could not be crossed without there being great danger of the horses falling over them.”


Coronado’s writings discuss the troubles he and his men faced during the expedition just outside of Compostela. The intense topography caused them to lose multiple horses, have scarce means of food, and travel over dangerous environments.


This primary source of Coronado’s report back lets us better understand just how harsh the conditions may have been that Coronado traveled through. Based on his accounts of his journey we know that he and his men changed pre-existing roads to meet their needs.


Coronado’s report was pulled from The Coronado Expedition, 1540-1542 written by George Parker Winship. As the title suggests, Winship discusses Coronado’s expedition as a whole and compiles different primary and secondary sources in his book. Coronado’s report is very important because it allows historians to have the opportunity to use discernment between Coronado’s and De Niza’s descriptions about the topographic characteristics.


Winship, George Parker. The Coronado Expedition, 1540-1542. U.S. Government Printing Office, 1896, pg. 553.

Amy Roberts; Augmented Reflections; UCCS.

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