Marcos de Niza

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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 attributed to Fray Marcos de Niza, located in Pima Canyon near Phoenix, Arizona South Mountain Park. Macrosdeniza gilacanyon.jpg
Stone Inscription, thought by some to be a forgery from a time in the 1930s, very often attributed to Fray Marcos de Niza, located in Pima Canyon near Phoenix, Arizona South Mountain Park.

Fray Marcos de Niza (c.1495 March 25, 1558) was a missionary and Franciscan friar. [2] He is credited with being the first European in what is now the State of Arizona in the United States. [3]

Friar member of a mendicant religious order in Catholic Christianity

A friar is a brother member of one of the mendicant orders founded in the twelfth or thirteenth century; the term distinguishes the mendicants' itinerant apostolic character, exercised broadly under the jurisdiction of a superior general, from the older monastic orders' allegiance to a single monastery formalized by their vow of stability. The most significant orders of friars are the Dominicans, Franciscans, Augustinians and Carmelites.


Adult life

He emigrated to America in 1531 for exploration of new land, and after serving his order zealously in Peru and Guatemala, de Niza was chosen to explore the country north of Sonora, whose wealth was depicted in the accounts of Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca. [4] 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, 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.

Peru Republic in South America

Peru, officially the Republic of Peru, is a country in western South America. It is bordered in the north by Ecuador and Colombia, in the east by Brazil, in the southeast by Bolivia, in the south by Chile, and in the west by the Pacific Ocean. Peru is a megadiverse country with habitats ranging from the arid plains of the Pacific coastal region in the west to the peaks of the Andes mountains vertically extending from the north to the southeast of the country to the tropical Amazon Basin rainforest in the east with the Amazon river.

Guatemala Republic in Central America

Guatemala, officially the Republic of Guatemala, is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, Belize and the Caribbean to the northeast, Honduras to the east, El Salvador to the southeast and the Pacific Ocean to the south. With an estimated population of around 16.6 million, it is the most populated country in Central America. Guatemala is a representative democracy; its capital and largest city is Nueva Guatemala de la Asunción, also known as Guatemala City.

Sonora State of Mexico

Sonora, officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Sonora, is one of 31 states that, with Mexico City, comprise the 32 federal entities of United Mexican States. It is divided into 72 municipalities; the capital city is Hermosillo. Sonora is bordered by the states of Chihuahua to the east, Baja California to the northwest and Sinaloa to the south. To the north, it shares the U.S.–Mexico border primarily with the state of Arizona with a small length with New Mexico, and on the west has a significant share of the coastline of the Gulf of California.

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

Provincial superior

A provincial superior is a major superior of a religious institute acting under the institute's Superior General and exercising a general supervision over all the members of that institute in a territorial division of the order called a province—similar to but not to be confused with an ecclesiastical province made up of particular churches or dioceses under the supervision of a Metropolitan Bishop. The division of a religious institute into provinces is generally along geographical lines, and may consist of one or more countries, or of only a part of a country. There may be, however, one or more houses of one province situated within the physical territory of another since the jurisdiction over the individual religious is personal rather than territorial. The title of the office is often abbreviated to Provincial.

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  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.
  3. Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Marcos de Niza". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  4. "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)

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<i>Encyclopædia Britannica</i> Eleventh Edition 1910 Encyclopedia

The Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition (1910–11), is a 29-volume reference work, an edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica. It was developed during the encyclopaedia's transition from a British to an American publication. Some of its articles were written by the best-known scholars of the time. This edition of the encyclopaedia, containing 40,000 entries, is now in the public domain, and many of its articles have been used as a basis for articles in Wikipedia. However, the outdated nature of some of its content makes its use as a source for modern scholarship problematic. Some articles have special value and interest to modern scholars as cultural artifacts of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

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