Eighty years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, Spanish explorers visited Kansas. Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, seeking gold in New Mexico, was told of Quivira by an Indian called the Turk. Here were "trees hung with golden bells and people whose pots and pans were beaten gold." With 30 picked horsemen and a Franciscan friar named Juan de Padilla, Coronado marched "north by the needle" from a point in Texas until he reached Kansas. Here he found no gold, but a country he described as "the best I have ever seen for producing all the products of Spain." The Turk confessed he had deceived the Spaniards and one night was strangled. For 25 days in the summer of 1541 Coronado remained among the grass-hut villages of the Quiviran Indians, then returned to New Mexico. Padilla went with him, but the following year came back to Quivira as a missionary. Later he was killed by the Indians, the first Christian martyr in the present United States. Near this marker is the site of one of the largest villages of the "Kingdom of Quivira."
Marker text sent by Mike LeMasters, Wichita, KS
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