De Soto's Quest for Cibola

In 1538 Hernando de Soto burst into Florida with a cabal of six hundred and twenty men who called themselves the ‘Men of Fire.’ With a mandate from God and license from King Charles V of Spain to wage war on and convert the natives of America De Soto set off on his conquest in search of Cibola and hidden treasure. De Soto was a rich man from an aristocratic family. He hailed from the town of Jerez de los Caballeros in Extremadura, one of Spain’s provinces that produced many of the conquistadors, including Vasco Nunez de Balboa, Hernan Cortez, who was received as a god by the Aztecs, and Francisco Pizarro.

During Pizarro’s looting of modern day Peru, De Soto helped conquer the Inca people, becoming the lieutenant governor of Cuzco, the city of the gods, and an Inca religious “mecca” where gold was piled up in the temple. Like Eden, Cuzco means “navel of the Earth.” De Soto noted the puzzling Christian symbolism already present in Peru. He listened attentively to tales of ancient giants and the bearded white gods with Near Eastern sounding names like the Sun God Illa-Ra and the gold making hero god Kon or Con(‘serpent’) whose stories were familiar to the conquistadors from the Bible.

Despite torture, the Inca priests refused to disclose the hiding place of Cibola and the secret wisdom of the ancient gods. The Mexicans, however, located Cibola north of Mexico, somewhere in the Four Corners area where Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico meet. Before he left Peru, De Soto stood on the shores of the Atlantic and vowed to discover the lost secrets of Cibola. On his return visit he struck gold and went home to Spain an even wealthier man. He put his wealth to use building ships and assembling a cabal of gold raiders and seekers of Cibola who accompanied him to America.

Arkansas Instead of heading for the pueblo and the land of enchantment De Soto, in an apparent feat of career suicide, headed for Arkansas. Following ancient Indian trails from Florida, to Georgia, to Tennessee, de Soto and his cabal snaked along in a single file line into the pine and hardwood forests of the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas where they zigzagged in all directions, maniacally searching for Cibola.

De Soto knew there was gold in Arkansas because the Bible and the Indians told him so. He relentlessly questioned the natives who had inhabited the area since 9500 B.C., the time of resettling after the cataclysm of Atlantis. If he didn’t like their answers he killed and tortured them. Most gave him misleading information, perhaps explaining his zigzagging.

The Spaniard’s quest ended with his fever-wracked mortal coil wrapped in fur and floating along the Mississippi, the river he is credited with discovering. His soul never found the promised land of Cibola. He did, however, find blue stones, possibly turquoise, west of the Mississippi.

Atlantis Rising Vol. 41: “De Soto’s Quest for the Hall of Records” by William Henry

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