||Marco, da Nizza, ca. 1495-1558
||Relation of the Reverend Father Frier Marco de Nica, Touching His Discovery of the Kingdom of Ceuola or Cibola, Situate about 30. Degrees of Latitude, to the North of Nueva Espanna
||Bandalier, Adolph Francis (editor). The Journey of Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca and His Companions from Florida to the Pacific 1528-1536. Translated from His Own Narrative by Fanny Bandelier. (New York: A.S. Barnes & Company, 1905). Pages 203-231.
||30 / 0
Father Marco da Nizza, c. 1495-1558, (whose name is
variously found as Marco or Marcos da Niza, Nizza, or Niça) was
a Franciscan friar born in Nice, then part of Italy. He became a
Franciscan friar, and served the Spanish in Peru and Guatemala
before going to New Spain in Mexico.
The Expedition, 1539
When the long-lost Cabeza de Vaca appeared unexpectedly in
Mexico City in 1536 (see AJ-070), he kindled Spanish interest
in the distant territories through which he’d wandered. After
hearing Cabeza de Vaca’s story, Viceroy Mendoza (see AJ-071) sent
Father Marco to explore the region. Accompanying Father Marco
was Estevan, or Estevanico, the African who had traveled with
Cabeza de Vaca, and an entourage of Indian companions. Starting
from Culiacan on March 7, 1539, by early April they passed the
limits of Spanish influence and in late May they approached Zuñi
Pueblo, which Father Marco called “Cibola,” thinking it to be
the fabled city of riches. Estevan went ahead to reconnoiter
but, ignoring Zuñi demands not to enter the town, was captured
and killed. Father Marco advanced to within sight of the pueblo
when he encountered Estevan’s wounded companions and they all
retreated south, reaching Mexico City in mid to late August. His
report to ecclesiastical superiors was quickly prepared and
delivered to Viceroy Mendoza on in September 1539. Mendoza,
convinced of the potential value of the north country, set about
preparing a major military expedition under the command of
Francisco Vasquez de Coronado (see AJ-086). This departed early
in 1540 with Marco as its guide. When Coronado failed to
discover the riches that Marco’s report had suggested, Marco
fell into disrepute among the Spanish authorities. His health
poor after he returned, Father Marcos died in 1542.
Two contemporary manuscripts of Father Marco’s report are
known to exist, one in the Spanish Archives in Seville and one
in Vienna. The first English translation was published in
Richard Hakluyt’s Divers voyages touching the discovery of
America and the islands adjacents, collected and published by
Richard Hakluyt in the year 1582. The present document is
from Bandalier, Adolph Francis (editor). The Journey of Alvar
Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca and His Companions from Florida to the
Pacific 1528-1536. Translated from His Own Narrative by Fanny
Bandelier (New York: A.S. Barnes & Company, 1905).
Other Internet and Reference Sources
A useful timeline of the years 1527-1547 that shows the
relationships between the travels of Narváez, Cabeza da Vaca,
DeSoto, Ulloa, and Coronado is available from the University of
Information on the Zuñi Pueblo can be found at the website at
contains history of the relationship between the Zuni Pueblos
and the Spanish explorers.
A brief biography on Nizza with suggested readings is available at the
Handbook of Texas History Online at
The site "Coronado's Exploration into the American Southwest"
contains background information, maps and texts.
The Estevanico Society in Abilene, Texas, maintains a web
http://www.estevanico.org with excellent primary and
secondary materials, as well as useful links to other resources.