Imaginary Cities of Gold

The Spanish Quest for Treasure in North America


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About the Book

Spanish conquistadors attempted to conquer the New World nearly a century before the English colonists established a permanent settlement at Jamestown. This book examines the unsuccessful elements of Spain’s attempt at expanding its empire in the Americas, focusing particularly on the misadventures of three conquistadors. Part One tells the story of Cabeza de Vaca who, along with three other survivors of the ill-fated Pánfilo de Narváez expedition to Florida, spent nearly eight years among the various tribes that wandered across Texas, New Mexico, and northern Mexico before finding his way back to civilization. Their tales of lands rich with earthly delights served as inspiration for two epic but failed expeditions that make up the second and third parts of the book: Francisco de Coronado’s quest to find the golden cities of Cibola and Hernando de Soto’s efforts to find the rich kingdoms of Florida.

About the Author(s)

After a long career in the banking industry, Peter O. Koch now runs a small online business. The author of several books, his research interests include American Indian cultures and the New World expeditions of the Spaniards. He lives in Bradenton, Florida.

Bibliographic Details

Peter O. Koch
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 251
Bibliographic Info: 8 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2009
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4381-9
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5310-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1

1. The Lure of the Quest      5

2. The Narváez Expedition      22

3. The Spiritual Path of Cabeza de Vaca      50

4. Rumors of Magnificent Realms      67

5. Rivals for the Rights to Florida      74

6. A Clerical Error      89

7. The Coronado Expedition      102

8. Bitter Disappointment      110

9. Native Unrest      128

10. The Search for Quivira      138

11. The Road to Ruin      148

12. De Soto Claims His Prize      155

13. Pearls Before Swine      171

14. Across the Wide Mississippi      190

15. Nearing the End      217

16. The Long Way Home      224

Chapter Notes      233

Bibliography      235

Index      237