Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vacas

Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vacas

You simply can’t live in Kansas and not know of Francisco Vazquez de Coronado. He was born in 1510 in Spain and sailed to New Spain (Mexico) in 1535. He was appointed governor of Nueva Galicia in 1538. One of his explorers, Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, came back from the north with reports of vast riches in the legendary Seven Golden Cities of Cíbola (present-day New Mexico). An ambitious expedition soon began that took Coronado himself up the Gulf of California to discover the mouth of the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon in 1540.

In the spring of 1541, the expedition moved into Palo Duro Canyon in Texas where Coronado left most of his men and proceeded north with 30 horsemen to another supposedly fabulously wealthy country, Quivira (Kansas).  All he found was a semi-nomadic Indian village. In disillusionment he returned to Mexico in 1542. Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca had led Coronado astray.

After some legal troubles, a brief career as Governor, and a seat on the council of Mexico City, Coronado died at age 44.  His explorations through Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas were considered failures because he failed to find the so-called Seven Golden Cities.

It makes me wonder how many people have been led away by Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca’s “Seven Golden Cities”.  You say, “that’s silly, people aren’t looking for seven cities of gold.”  Well, for sure “something influential” is calling people away from a submissive, faith-filled life in Christ.

We’ve all seen people toss away the redemptive grace of God for something bogus, short lived, and destructive.  It has continued with every generation since Adam and Eve.  Of these folks, Paul said, “… God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity … they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy …” (Romans 1).

Don’t be fooled by the trickeries of a fallen world.  Be the historian and teacher in your family that warns them of the dangers of chasing after the mythological golden cities.  Stand strong and don’t listen to the Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vacas of the world.