Fray Marcos de Niza
- For the high school in Tempe, Arizona, see Marcos
de Niza High School.
- March 25, 1558) was a Franciscan
born in Nice (de
Niza means of Nice in Spanish), which was at that time under the
control of the Italian House of Savoy.
He went to
America in 1531, and after serving his order zealously in Peru, Guatemala and Mexico, was chosen
to explore the country north of Sonora, whose
wealth was pictured in the hearsay stories of Álvar Núñez Cabeza de
Vaca. Preceded by Estevanico, the Moorish
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, penetrated
to the Zuni or the Seven
Cities of Cibola, and in September returned to Culiacán.
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
of his order for Mexico before the second trip to
Zuni, and returned in 1541 to the capital, in shame, where he died
- MAURA, Juan Francisco. Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca: el gran
burlador de América. Parnaseo/Lemir. Valencia:Universidad de
- Katharine Bartlett and Harold S. Colton, A Note on the
Marcos de Niza inscription near Phoenix, Arizona, Plateau,
vol.12, n°4, p.53-59.