Maria Maldonado

Areas of Achievement: 
Home Making

Honored By

Honored by: Wilkening, Laurel L.
Date submitted: October 24, 2006
Gift: Gateway Entry and Two Arches with Seating

Maria Maldonado accompanied her husband Juan Gomez de Paradinas on Francisco Vasquez de Coronado's expedition of exploration and conquest in the present day states of Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. "She was remembered years later as having tirelessly nursed the sick and wounded of the expedition, and her service figured heavily in the award of a small grant (to her husband) in 1560."
Testimonial regarding the women of the Coronado Expedition: Francisca de Hozes, Maria Maldonado, Senora Caballero and dozens, perhaps hundreds, of Native (Mexican Indian) women whose names are unrecorded.

"My early image of the Spanish Conquistadors of the Americas was of a bunch of macho guys on horseback sweating in their medieval armor as they rampaged across the steaming jungles and sweltering deserts of the New World. What a surprise as an adult to read Herbert E. Bolton's Coronado, Knight of Pueblos and Plains, and learn that Spanish and Native American women accompanied Francisco Vasquez de Coronado's 1540-1542 expedition through present day states of Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. To be completely clear, the women did not go beyond Texas because Coronado took only 30 men out of his entourage of about 2000 persons on the last brief push through the Oklahoma panhandle to Kansas in seach of Quivira. Thus, the women traveled only 3500 miles from the expedition's start in Mexico. They faced as much heat, rain, snow, thirst, hunger and physical hardship as the men, but they did not engage in warfare. They cared for their husbands and children and cooked, washed and camped in incredibly difficult conditions. For historical perspective, while these women were trudging across Sonora, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, Catherine Howard, the fifth queen consort of Henry VIII of England lived out her brief reign.

When historians finally started writing about women, the stories were so remarkable that one wonders how notions of feminine frailty arose. Now that the stories are known, they should not be forgotten." --Laurel L. Wilkening