Searching for Golden Empires
This lively book recounts the explorations of the first generationsof Spanish conquistadors and their Native allies. Author William K.Hartmann brings readers along as the explorers probe from Cuba to theAztec capital of Mexico City, and then northward through theborderlands to New Mexico, the Grand Canyon, southern California, andas far as Kansas. Characters include Hernan Cortés, the conqueror; theAztec ruler Montezuma; Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, a famousexpedition leader; Marcos de Niza, an explorer-priest doomed todisgrace; and Viceroy Antonio Mendoza, the king's representativewho tried to keep the explorers under control.
Recounting eyewitness experiences that the Spaniards recorded inletters and memoirs, Hartmann describes ancient lifeways from Mexico tothe western United States, Aztec accounts of the conquest, anddiscussions between Aztec priests and Spanish priests about the natureof the universe, Cortés's lifelong relationship with his famousNative mistress, Malinche (not to mention the mysterious fate of hiswife), lost explorers who wandered from Florida to Arizona, and Marcosde Niza's controversial reports of the "Seven Cities ofCíbola."
Searching for Golden Empires describes how, even after theconquest of Mexico, Cortés remained a "wildcat" competitorwith Coronado in a race to see who could find the "next goldenempire," believed to lie in the north. Searching for GoldenEmpires is an exciting history of the shared story of the United Statesand Mexico, unveiling episodes both tragic and uplifting.
This remarkable new study fleshes out both explorers and natives,revealing nearly forgotten fluctuations of power and persuasion.Detailed archaeological evidence and meticulous scholarlyinvestigations make this book especially valuable in academia, butHartmann's joyful Indiana Jones–esque attitude will botheducate general readers and keep them rapt.
What an incredible scope and subject!
This book is a must-read for archaeologists, ethnohistorians,historians, and those interested in the skullduggery and the storiesbehind the stories of the opening years of the Spanish exploration ofNorth America.
This is a thoughtful re-examination of the original data relating tothe two Spanish expeditions. Hartmann takes the work of currentscholars in the field and adds his own insights.
Scientist and historian Bill Hartmann has made significantcontributions to our understanding of the report of fray Marcos deNiza, the first European to reach the American Southwest. Now he looksat a wider sweep of both time and geography, revealingly linking theevents and people of the conquest of Mexico under Hernando Cortés withthe journey to Cíbola led almost two decades later by Francisco Vázquezde Coronado.
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