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Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century biographies contain errors and bias. We rely on volunteers to edit the historic biographies on a continual basis. If you would like to edit this biography please submit a rewritten biography in text form . If acceptable, the new biography will be published above the 19th Century Appleton's Cyclopedia Biography citing the volunteer editor





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Marcos de Niza

NIZA, Marcos de  -  A Stan Klos Biography

NIZA, Marcos de (he-sah), Italian missionary, born in Nice in the latter part of the 15th century; died in Mexico in 1542. He became a Franciscan friar, and was sent in 1531 as a missionary to New Spain, but heard in Hispaniola of the first expedition of Francisco Pizarro (q. v.), and resolved to go to the newly discovered countries. He went first to Panama, and from there to Nicaragua, preaching on his way, and joining Velalcazar accompanied him to Peru in 1532.

 

He was present at the capture of Cajamarca, witnessed the death of Atahulapa, and was afterward appointed commissary of his order in Peru, but, not agreeing with the conquerors about their treatment of the Indians, left Peru in 1535 and came to Mexico. There, on account of his learning, he was soon appointed provincial of the Santo Evangelico province, and, desiring to convert the northern Indians, he resolved to visit their countries.

 

Accompanied by another friar, and guided by the negro Stephen, one of the companions of Cabeza de Vaca, he set out from Culiacan on 7 March, 1539. On reaching Cibola he sent forward Stephen with a party of friendly Indians to ask admission; but, the Zufus attacked them on their way, and the guide was killed. Marcos then determined not to advance farther than a hill that commanded Cibola, and, planting a cross there, took possession of the country for the king of Spain.

 

It is generally admitted that he penetrated as far as one of the present towns of the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico. Returning to Mexico he gave such a marvelous account of the riches of the countries that he had visited that the Spanish cupidity became excited. The viceroy, Antonio de Mendoza, prepared an expedition, of which Francisco Vasquez de Coronado (q. v.) was appointed commander, and Marcos accompanied the adventurers as guide. Cibola was taken by storm, but it far from realized the expectations of the Spaniards, and they reproached the missionary with his false account.

 

Coronado at last calmed their indignation, and Niza was allowed to proceed unmolested to Mexico, where he arrived in November, 1540, worn out by fatigue and nearly crippled He spent some months in the convent of Jalapa for his health, but, feeling no improvement, he returned to the convent of Mexico early in 1542, and died in the same year.

 

His report to the viceroy, "Relación del descubrimiento de los siete Ciudades y Reino de Cibola al Norte de Mexico y 400 leguas distante de la Capital," in manuscript, is in the archives of Simancas. It was translated into Italian by Giambattista Ramusio in his "Raccoltas di Navigazioni" (3 vols., 1550-'9), into English by Richard Hakluyt in his "Voyages" (1600), and into French by Henri Ternaux-Compans in his "Collections" (1836-'40). It is full of improbabilities, and in part even contradicted by Coronado's report; but many facts that he related, which were at that time considered as absurd, have been verified.


 

Edited Appletons Encyclopedia by John Looby, Copyright © 2001 VirtualologyTM

NIZA, Marcos de (he-sah), Italian missionary, born in Nice in the latter part of the 15th century; died in Mexico in 1542. He became a Franciscan friar, and was sent in 1531 as a missionary to New Spain, but heard in Hispaniola of the first expedition of Francisco Pizarro (q. v.), and resolved to go to the newly discovered countries. He went first to Panama, and from there to Nicaragua, preaching on his way, and joining Velalcazar accompanied him to Peru in 1532. He was present at the capture of Cajamarca, witnessed the death of Atahulapa, and was afterward appointed commissary of his order in Peru, but, not agreeing with the conquerors about their treatment of the Indians, left Peru in 1535 and came to Mexico. There, on account of his learning, he was soon appointed provincial of the Santo Evangelico province, and, desiring to convert the northern Indians, he resolved to visit their countries. Accompanied by another friar, and guided by the negro Stephen, one of the companions of Cabeza de Vaca, he set out from Culiacan on 7 March, 1539. On reaching Cibola he sent forward Stephen with a party of friendly Indians to ask admission; but, the Zufus attacked them on their way, and the guide was killed. Marcos then determined not to advance farther than a hill that commanded Cibola, and, planting a cross there, took possession of the country for the king of Spain. It is generally admitted that he penetrated as far as one of the present towns of the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico. Returning to Mexico he gave such a marvellous account of the riches of the countries that he had visited that the Spanish cupidity became excited. The viceroy, Antonio de Mendoza. prepared an expedition, of which Francisco Vasquez de Coronado (q. v.) was appointed commander, and Marcos accompanied the adventurers as guide. Cibola was taken by storm, but it far from realized the expectations of the Spaniards, and they reproached the missionary with his false account. Coronado at last calmed their indignation, and Niza was allowed to proceed unmolested to Mexico, where he arrived in November, 1540, worn out by fatigue and nearly crippled He spent some months in the convent of Jalapa for his health, but, feeling no improvement, he returned to the convent of Mexico early in 1542, and died in the same year. His report to the viceroy, " R elacion del descubrimiento de los siete Ciudades y Reino de Cibola al Norte de Mexico y 400 leguas distante de la Capital," in manuscript, is in the archives of Simancas. It was translated into Italian by Giambattista Ramusio in his "Raccoltas di Navigazioni" (3 vols., 1550-'9), into English b[v Richard Hakluyt in his "Voyages" (1600), and into French by Henri Ternaux-Compans in his "Collections" (1836-'40). It is full of improbabilities, and in part even contradicted by Coronado's report : but many facts that he related, which were at that time considered as absurd, have been verified.

Edited Appletons Encyclopedia, Copyright © 2001 VirtualologyTM

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