The Spanish

Spanish conquistadors led by the explorer Cardenas were the first party of Europeans to see the Grand Canyon. Detached from the main body of the Coronado Expedition, the Cardenas party reached the South Rim somewhere between Lipan Point and Moran Point in 1540. Although their Hopi guides almost certainly knew of routes to the river, they weren't telling, and the Spanish searched in vain for ten days before giving up. Still, just reaching the Grand Canyon across the dry and dangerous deserts was a major accomplishment less than 50 years after Columbus first reached the New World.

More than two hundred years would pass before the next Spanish party saw the Grand Canyon. Traveling alone, Father Garces approached the canyon from the lower Colorado River in 1776. He befriended the local Indians who clearly gave him good advice, because he was guided to the village of Supai and then made his way along the South Rim in the area of Grandview Point.

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