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Read the rest of this article:The known history of the Grand Canyon area stretches back 10,500 years when the first evidence for human presence in the area started. Native Americans have been living at Grand Canyon and in the area now covered by Grand Canyon National Park for at least the last 4,000 of those years. Drought in the late 13th century was the likely cause for these cultures to move on. Under direction by conquistador Francisco Vasquez de Coronado to find the fabled Seven Cities of Cibola, Captain Garcia Lopez de Cardenas led a party of Spanish soldiers with Hopi guides to the Grand Canyon in September of 1540. Not finding what they were looking for, they left. Over 200 years passed before two Spanish priests became the second party of non-Native Americans to see the canyon. In 1869, U.S. Army Major John Wesley Powell led the Powell Geographic Expedition through the canyon on the Colorado River. This and later study by geologists uncovered the geology of the Grand Canyon area and helped to advance that science. In the late 19th century there was interest in the region because of its promise of mineral resources—mainly copper and asbestos. Although first afforded Federal protection in 1893 as a forest reserve and later as a U.S. National Monument, Grand Canyon did not achieve U.S. National Park status until 1919, three years after the creation of the National Park Service. Today, Grand Canyon National Park receives about five million visitors each year.