Donald E. Chipman

EL TURCO (?–1541). El Turco (The Turk), so named by Spaniards because of his appearance, was a captive of Indians at Cicúique, an Indian town near the site of contemporary Pecos, New Mexico. He was presented to Capt. Hernando de Alvarado, an officer of Francisco Vázquez de Coronado, in 1540. In Spanish hands, the Turk described a region toward the east known as Quivira, which possessed much gold, silver, and rich fabrics. Coronado employed the Turk as a guide on his trek in 1541 from New Mexico into the Texas Panhandle and beyond to the area of present-day Kansas. Quivira, however, contained only buffaloes and the grass huts and cornfields of the Wichita Indians-not golden cities. Because the Turk had lied about the wealth of the land and conspired with the Quivirans to kill the Spaniards and their horses, Coronado reluctantly ordered him garroted prior to the return march to New Mexico.

Herbert Eugene Bolton, Coronado: Knight of Pueblos and Plains (New York: Whittlesey; Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1949). Donald E. Chipman, Spanish Texas, 1519–1821 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1992).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Donald E. Chipman, "EL TURCO," accessed July 21, 2019, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fel01.

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Get this week's most popular Handbook of Texas articles delivered straight to your inbox