TL;DR -- Coronado of New Spain traveled east out of New Mexico looking for the promised riches of the new land. His guides led him up to what is now northcentral Kansas. Three centuries later, travelers from the east passed through this region on their way west.
One of our interests is New Spain for several reasons. A good example is the fact that New Spain controlled most of the land that was the interior of the U.S. As we know, the interior was not empty; there was a native population. In 1541, Coronado followed native guides deep within the interior looking for riches. This map shows his route; the map was used in a 2021 post on New Spain as we were first starting to consider the other cultures involved in establishing the U.S.
This would have been the land of the Quivira who later were named Pawnee. Recent excavations, in Kansas, have recovered remains of a settlement of the Wichita people whose culture was "dubbed ... Quivira" by Coronado. The population size is estimated to have been about 20,000 persons.
This area is where Gardner Junction, KS three centuries later arose as a stop along the trails, one of which had Santa Fe, NM as its destination. For a time, travelers heading for Oregon or California passed through the location.
Remarks: Modified: 05/10/2023