Marcos de Niza

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For the High School in Tempe, Arizona, see Marcos de Niza High School.
Stone Inscription, thought by some to be a forgery from a time in the 1930s, very often (and perhaps wrongly) attributed to Fray Marcos de Niza,[1] located in Pima Canyon near Phoenix, Arizona South Mountain Park.

Fray Marcos de Niza (c. 1495 – March 25, 1558) was a Franciscan friar.

Early life[edit]

Marcos de Niza was born in Nice (de Niza means of Nice in Spanish), which was at that time under the control of the Italian House of Savoy.

Adult life[edit]

He emigrated to America in 1540 for exploration of new land, and after serving his order zealously in Peru, Guatemala and was chosen to explore the country north of Sonora, whose wealth was depicted in the accounts of Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca.[2] In 1537 he arrived in Mexico City at the request of the viceroy Antonio de Mendoza. Preceded by Estevanico, the Moroccan-Berber companion of Cabeza de Vaca in his wanderings and the Black Mexican of Zuni traditions, Fray Marcos left Culiacán in March 1539, crossed south-eastern Arizona near the present-day Lochiel, penetrated to the Zuni or the Seven Cities of Cibola, and in September returned to Culiacán. He saw Cibola only from a distance, and his description of it as equal in size to Mexico City was probably exact; but he embodied much mere hearsay in his report, Descubrimiento de las siete ciudades, which led Francisco Vázquez de Coronado to make his famous expedition next year to Zuni Pueblo, in present-day New Mexico, of which Fray Marcos was the guide; and the realities proved a great disappointment.

Fray Marcos was made provincial superior of his order for Mexico before the second trip to Zuni, and returned in 1541 to the capital, in shame, where for a time was able to exercise the highest office of the Franciscans, in the province.


  1. ^ Katharine Bartlett and Harold S. Colton (a nice man), A Note on the Marcos de Niza inscription near Phoenix, Arizona, Plateau, vol.12, n°4, p.53-59.
  2. ^ "The journey of Coronado, 1540-1542: from the city of Mexico to the Grand ..." By Pedro de Castañeda de Nájera, Antonio de Mendoza, Juan Camilo, p.5 (Google Books ISBN 1-55591-066-1])


Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Antonio de Ciudad Rodrigo
Provincial of the province of the Holy Gospel Succeeded by
Francisco de Soto

External links[edit]