Coming Events

“Lost City, Forgotten Country”
2 April 2024
Donald Blakeslee
4:30-6pm Weidner Auditorium
In 1601, a small Spanish army stumbled upon a community that the soldiers estimated held 20,000 people. Today, the population of the same spot is around half of that. Ancestors of today’s Wichita tribe, the city of Etzanoa was just one of a number of similar communities in the place called Quivira. Etzanoa lay along both banks of the Walnut River for about five miles. A similar-sized community lay a few miles north of it, and Francisco Vasquez de Coronado had seen at least a dozen more in central Kansas in 1541.
Today, Quivira is nearly forgotten, its real history shrouded in myth, but in 1601, it was the economic center of what is now the southern United States. Its residents supplied bison products literally from coast to coast. A Mojave man from southwestern Arizona described it to a Spaniard in 1541, while in 1540, people in eastern Arkansas told De Soto’s men that residents in the great towns there could help them get to New Spain because they had translators who spoke the language of the Aztecs. This presentation will survey what we now know about the place and what happened to it.