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Arizona Gold, Legend and Lore Part 2

Many of the legends and lore of vast riches are embedded in early Arizona history. Long before the white man came to Arizona, the land was inhabited by culturally advanced race of Indians who left irrigation canals, aqueducts, cities, and fortifications scattered throughout the valleys and canyons of the state.

A great battle fought and won
Mitch Waite

The first white man to visit the region was a Franciscan missionary and explorer Marcos De Niza in 1539. He led an exploratory expedition from Mexico City into what is now Arizona and New Mexico. His accounts of riches and vastness of the land inspired other explorers such as Francisco Vasquez de Coronado to visit the area in 1540. This expedition discovered the Hopi Pueblos and the great Grand Canyon.

The news sread through Spain, and explorers heard of the Seven Cities of Cibola (seven cities of gold) which was located somewhat north of New Spain (now known as Mexico). Coronado set out to find the cities of gold he arrived in Cibola in 1540 and discovered the reports were noting more than stories. There was no golden cities. This did not deter more explorers to flock to the new land in search of riches.

The influx of explorers was soon discouraged by hostile Indians who were trying to protect their lands and way of life. The Indians resisted the colonization, but were eventually over powered. The Spanish Government made the region part of New Spain in 1598.

Christianity was soon to follow. It was introduced along with the Spanish culture to the Indians by the Jesuit missionary Eusebil Francisco Kino (1645- 1711). Father Kino founded many missions in northern Mexico and Arizona. Soon the Spanish established a prisidio at Tucson in 1776.

American settlers, traders, and explorers began to move into the region in the early 1800s. During the Mexican War (1846-1848), The United States troops seized control of Arizona and adjoining New Mexico. Under the terms of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the war ended, and Mexico ceded all of Arizona and New Mexico north of the Gila River to the United States. The section south of the Gila was acquired by the US through the Gadsden Purchase in 1853.

Serious Indian uprisings occurred in the territory during the American Civil War and at several sporadic intervals until 1896. It also might be noted that Geromimo, a great Apache Chief was active and alive in the early 1900s.

The US congress rejected an application by Arizona for statehood in 1891, and was once almost made a single state with New Mexico. Finally, Arizona became a separate state on 14 February, 1912.

All of this activity and termoil in the early histroy of Arizona involved the attempt a gaining riches from the land. Many battles were fought between the Native Americans, Spainards, American over the control of the land and its riches. During these conflicts fast shippments of gold were hidden for safe keeping, mines were covered up, and shippment of arms and munitions were lost. Many of these lost mines, buried treasures, and lost loot have not yet been discovered and are still out there.

To Be Continued...

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