History of California
Hernán CortésLa Paz, BCS, Mexico
Around 1530, Nuño Beltrán de Guzmán (president of New Spain) was told by an Indian slave of the Seven Cities of Cibola that had streets paved with gold and silver. About the same time Hernán Cortés was attracted by stories of a wonderful country far to the northwest, populated by Amazonish women and abounding with gold, pearls and gems. The Spaniards conjectured that these places may be one and the same. An expedition in 1533 discovered a bay, most likely that of La Paz, before experiencing difficulties and returning. Cortés accompanied expeditions in 1534 and 1535 without finding the sought-after city. On May 3, 1535, Cortés claimed "Santa Cruz Island" (now known as the Baja California Peninsula) and laid out and founded the city that was to become La Paz later that spring.