Thought Archive

Friday, January 18, 2008

In search of the seven cities of gold

I watched National Treasure with Nicholas Cage searching for yet another mystery as a treasure hunter. This is how the legend of Cibola originated, which goes to show that every tale has a grain of truth in it:

  • Upon hearing the castaways' tales of cities with limitless riches to the North of New Spain, Viceroy Antonio de Mendoza organized an expedition headed by the Franciscan monk Marcos de Niza, who took as his guide Estevanico. During the voyage, in a place called Vacapa (probably located somewhere around the state of Sonora) the monk sent Estevanico to scout ahead. A short while later, Estevanico met a monk who had heard stories from the natives about cities overflowing with riches.When Marcos de Niza heard of this man, he supposed that the stories pertained to the "Seven Cities of Cíbola y Quivira."Estevanico did not wait for the friar, but instead continued travelling until he reached Háwikuh, now in New Mexico, where, at the hands of Native Americans, he supposedly met his death, and his companions were forced to flee.Marcos de Niza returned to Mexico City and said that the expedition moved on even after the reported death of Estevanico. He claimed that they had seen a city very far away and greater than the great Tenochtitlan; in this city, the people used dishes of gold and silver, decorated their houses with turquoise, and had gigantic pearls, emeralds, and other beautiful gems.It is now believed by many historians that the mica-inflected clay of the adobe pueblos may have created an optical illusion when inflamed by the setting sun. Thus fueling the tale of the "Seven Cities of Cíbola y Quivira."

5 comments:

NoolaBeulah said...

If all the plates are made of gold, then gold isn't worth much. There's nothing so revealing of a fantasy than something that undermines it completely.

Hazar Nesimi said...

I bet the monk did not think of it, especially that nhe knew it would be difficult to check.

Riri said...

This post went way above me head like. I don' get it, what's this about cities full of gold and precious stones? Anybody know where I put my gloves?

Hazar Nesimi said...

There are seven cities of Gold, one of them is called Cibola. It is hidden and no one saw it except that monk. Many people travelled all over North America to find it, and many perished. The story originates in Spain, and many Spaniards still believe it. Anyway it is supposedly located in Western United States. Some people think Aliens had build it.

Riri said...

Nah, forget it. You need to be concerning yourself with hidden WMD's, those are the modern equivalent of hidden treasures. The hunt goes on...last city of WMD's was spotted by an American monk(ey) incidently, nobody could find it ever since however...Odd.