Characters include Hernan Cortes, the conqueror; the Aztec ruler Montezuma; Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, a famous expedition leader; Marcos de Niza, an explorer-priest doomed to disgrace; and Viceroy Antonio Mendoza, the king's representative who tried to keep the explorers under control. Recounting eyewitness experiences that the Spaniards recorded in letters and memoirs, Hartmann describes ancient lifeways from Mexico to the western United States, Aztec accounts of the conquest, and discussions between Aztec priests and Spanish priests about the nature of the universe, Cortes's lifelong relationship with his famous Native mistress, Malinche (not to mention the mysterious fate of his wife), lost explorers who wandered from Florida to Arizona, and Marcos de Niza's controversial reports of the Seven Cities of Cibola.
Searching for Golden Empires describes how, even after the conquest of Mexico, Cortes remained a wildcat competitor with Coronado in a race to see who could find the next golden empire, believed to lie in the north. Searching for Golden Empires is an exciting history of the shared story of the United States and Mexico, unveiling episodes both tragic and uplifting.
William K. Hartmann is known internationally as a planetary astronomer, writer, and painter. He is a Senior Scientist at the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona. His research has involved the origin and evolution of planets and studies of the surfaces of Mars, the moon, asteroids, and comets. Asteroid 3341 is named after him in recognition of this work, and in 1998 he was named first recipient of the Carl Sagan medal of the American Astronomical Society for communicating planetary science to the public. In 2002 he was awarded a medal from the European Geophysical Society for his work on planetary cratering. He has authored three other astronomy books for Thomson, Brooks-Cole, several popular astronomy books, and two novels, Mars Underground and Cities of Gold.
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