Francisco Vázquez de Coronado (1510 – 1554) led the largest land-based exploration in the continental United States conducted by colonial Spain. From 1540 to 1542, the expedition had the first Europeans to see such places as the Colorado River, the Grand Canyon, the Rio Grande, many pueblo settlements, and the Great Plains. Matt Schmader, PhD, will examine the current state of knowledge and retrospectives about the man and his famed expedition. Guided tour of a recently investigated Coronado site will follow.
Matt Schmader has been conducting archaeological research in central New Mexico for over 30 years and obtained a PhD in Anthropology from the University of New Mexico. As principal investigator on dozens of projects, he has excavated at sites ranging from PaleoIndian campsites and Archaic dwellings to pithouse villages, pre-Contact pueblos, and historic downtown Albuquerque. More recently, he has been focused on research on the Contact period and the Coronado expedition in the Rio Grande valley. He is Superintendent of the City of Albuquerque Open Space Division and serves as the City Archaeologist.
This program is part of the Department of Cultural Affairs New Mexico Heritage Preservation Month honoring El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro or The Royal Road to the Interior Lands. El Camino Real brought the first Spanish and Mexican colonists to New Mexico beginning in 1598. Several points on The Road cross paths with Coronado’s original route.
The Open Space Visitor Center is located at 6500 Coors Blvd. NW between Montaño Rd. and Paseo del Norte at the end of Bosque Meadows Rd. The Center is open Tuesday through Sunday, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM and closed Mondays. Call 505.897.8831 for more information.