Who crossed the Texas panhandle? It's an interesting and somewhat mysterious question. The area has been home to all kinds of settlers and explorers.

If you're wanting to get technical with the answer, we have to go way back in history.

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The First People Thought To Have Crossed The Panhandle Weren't Explorers

The first people attributed to passing through the area were indigenous hunters. To be specific, they're referred to as the Paleo-Indian hunters.

Photo by Bryce olsen on Unsplash
Photo by Bryce olsen on Unsplash

Evidence of their presence in our neck of the woods comes in the form of "projectile points." Or, to use a more familiar term, arrowheads.

After them, populations just kind of came and went.

Spanish Explorers In The Texas Panhandle

This is probably the answer most people are looking for when it comes to who crossed the Texas panhandle.

It wasn't Lewis and Clark. It wasn't Cortez.

It was Coronado.

Photo by Jingming Pan on Unsplash
Photo by Jingming Pan on Unsplash

Francisco Vázquez de Coronado was a Spaniard with an exalted vision (or was it an obsession?) of gold and wealth beyond his wildest dreams. So he set sail for the Americas to find it.

He came through in 1541 on his epic search for riches and glory. If you think back to your early days in school, you'll remember that Coronado never found the riches he was desperately looking for.

He did, however find some nomadic buffalo hunters in the area. He also was the first to document what the Llano Estacado was like.

The Long Lasting Influence Of Coronado's Wild Goose Chase

Even though his whole search for riches and glory was a bust, Coronado's influence is still felt in the area.

We still have schools bearing his name. His presence is thought to be what aligned the region with the Hispanic Southwest. In fact, it was regarded as a part of New Mexico for a very long time. His descriptions and maps of his journey across this region are what set the stage for explorers to come

So, who crossed the Texas panhandle? If you're talking about the race for unclaimed riches and glory in unexplored lands, it was Coronado.

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