The Road to Cibola

The Road to Cibola

The Road to Cibola

The Road to Cibola

Excerpt

In the New World the routes of the great explorations usually have become historic highways and thus has been forged a link connecting the distant past with the modern present. For the explorers followed main trails beaten by many generations of Indian travel. There was, in varying degree, intercommunication and exchange of goods between Indian villages or tribes. The resultant trails were as direct as the terrain, the need of food and drink en route, and reasonable security permitted, and were fixed by long experience as the best way of traversing a particular stretch of country. Explorers, being sensible men if their explorations succeeded, used Indian guides who took them over Indian roads. By and large, European colonization still found these routes useful. Men on horses had the same need of saving distance, of finding easy passes and stream crossings, and of food and drink, that directed the Indian's travels afoot. Footpaths and pack-trails rarely differ. Only as the white man brought new economic interests, such as the search for mines, and mechanized transport, such as railroads, did he break away from the primitive routes of communication. Even then there has been a large measure of survival of the earlier historic and prehistoric highways.

The land passage through northwestern New Spain was mostly by one great arterial highway, which is a good illustration in point. From the densely peopled lands of central Mexico a road led by way of the coastal lowlands of the Mexican Northwest to the northern land of the Pueblo Indians, and at the last, to California (see map). It is here called the Road to Cíbola, since the search for the legendary Seven Cities was the main reason for its opening by the Spaniards.

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