Coronado National Memorial
The Coronado National Memorial commemorates the first organized expedition into the Southwest by conquistador Francisco Vásquez de Coronado. The memorial is located in a natural setting on the international border on the southeast flank of the Huachuca Mountains south of Sierra Vista, Arizona. The memorial confirms the ties that bind the United States and Mexico.
Official statements indicate that it was initially designed as a gesture of goodwill and cooperation between the United States and Mexico, through the recognition of Coronado's 1540 expedition to the area. For example, in 1939 the House Committee on Foreign Affairs noted:
"As a result of this expedition, what has been truly characterized by historians as one of the greatest land expeditions the world has known, a new civilization was established in the great American Southwest."
And E. K. Burlew, Acting Secretary of the Interior added in 1940:
"To commemorate permanently the explorations of Francisco Vásquez de Coronado. . .would be of great value in advancing the relationship of the United States and Mexico upon a friendly basis of cultural understanding. . . It would] stress the history and problems of the two countries and would encourage cooperation for the advancement of their common interests."
Thus the site was first designated Coronado International Memorial on August 18, 1941, with the hope that a comparable adjoining area would be established in Mexico. The arrangement might have been similar to the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park between the United States and Canada. However, despite interest by the government of Mexico, the Mexican memorial was never created, therefore Congress changed the authorized designation to a national memorial on July 9, 1952. The memorial was established by Harry S. Truman on November 5 of that year. As with all historic areas administered by the National Park Service, the national memorial was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966.
Reenactment of Coronado's entrada, 1540.
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