Zoom Event “China: The Aim of the Coronado Expedition”

Richard and Shirley Flint

Zoom Event “China: The Aim of the Coronado Expedition”

MMAC with Torrance County Archeological Society
Tuesday, April 6, 2021, 6:30 pm MT
Explorers originally believed they could reach Asia by traveling northwestward by land passing through New Mexico. Richard Flint, PhD and Shirley Cushing Flint, MA discuss conclusions from their book, A Most Splendid Company: The Coronado Expedition in Global Perspective.

Don Antonio de Mendoza was the chief architect and major funder of the Coronado Expedition. For generations, he and his forebears had backed the Columbian Project of establishing a westward route from Spain to China and the rest of Asia. It is little wonder, then—even if it is a surprise to us of the twenty-first century—that Mendoza’s goal for the Coronado Expedition was to finally reach Asia by traveling northwestward by land from Mexico City.

We explain why the majority of Europeans of the day were sure that was possible and why, in the late 1530s, that looked to be not only possible but doable within a few months of travel. As a result, the Coronado Expedition attracted “a most splendid company” of investor-participants.

That is also why, when the expeditionaries reached the Seven Cities of Cíbola, the Zuni pueblos of west-central New Mexico, in July 1540, they were profoundly disappointed and furiously angry with their guide fray Marcos de Niza. They were so angry that they threatened to kill the friar on the spot. From that moment, the Coronado Expedition was a unredeemable failure.

The expectation of most of the expeditionaries had been that they would soon obtain the most desirable luxury goods of the day: silk, porcelain, spices, and dyes. And with those goods would come prestige, renown, and wealth. Instead, most of the Europeans associated with the expedition ended up badly in debt, some for the rest of their lives.

About the Flints

After nearly forty years of research and publication on the Coronado expedition into northwest Mexico and the American Southwest and related subjects, Richard Flint and Shirley Cushing Flint are widely recognized as leading authorities on the expedition and its context and aftermath. Beginning in 1980 from curiosity over an old footnote, the Flints have followed a whole series of resulting questions to dozens of archives in Spain, Mexico, and elsewhere, as well as to archaeological sites in Mexico, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Kansas. They have immersed themselves in the language, culture, and thought of Early Modern Spain and early colonial Mexico. That immersion has recently culminated in the publication of a major new book on the Coronado expedition, A Most Splendid Company: The Coronado Expedition in Global Perspective.

The Flints live in Albuquerque and are Research Associates at the Latin American and Iberian Institute at the University of New Mexico and at Archaeology Southwest in Tucson. They are also happy to claim Sevilla, Spain, as their segunda patria. Their award-winning publications include Documents of the Coronado Expedition, 1539-1542, Great Cruelties Have Been Reported: The 1544 Investigation of the Coronado Expedition, No Settlement, No Conquest: A History of the Coronado Entrada, and No Mere Shadows: Faces of Widowhood in Early Colonial Mexico, as well as several edited volumes and dozens of chapters and journal articles.

Richard and Shirley Flint
Join the Zoom Event

Event Link

Meeting ID: 923 9528 1391
Passcode: 809270

One tap mobile
+16699006833,,92395281391#,,,,*809270# US (San Jose)
+12532158782,,92395281391#,,,,*809270# US (Tacoma)

Dial by your location
+1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
+1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
+1 929 205 6099 US (New York)
+1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)
+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)

Meeting ID: 923 9528 1391
Passcode: 809270
Find your local number

Follow MMAC on Facebook