Cabeza de Vaca is remembered because that his epos journey across the Americas. He to be a survivor of the failure Narvaez expedition and also would journey throughout the phibìc American continent because that eight years.

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Along the way, he would certainly trade v the natives, find out their culture, and also respect who they were.

He would pen publications on his encounters through the natives that offered the perspective of who they were and also how they conductive themselves. He would eventually return to Spain and would never ever return come the Americas.

He was unlike the other Spanish Conquistadors in the he walk not overcome with the sword since he walk not have actually one, but he made it through through intuition and also tolerance.

Cabeza de Vaca Facts: early on Years


Cabeza de Vaca’s parents passed away when he to be young, de Vaca to be taken in by relatives and also evidence says that the probably had a moderately comfortable early life.

He to be appointed chamberlain for the residence of a noble family members in his teen years then participated in the occupation of the Canary Islands whereby he to be appointed a governor.

In 1511, he enlisted in the Spanish army, offer in Italy, Spain, and Navarre. He got several medals that honor and became more of a political number in Spain.

In 1527, Núñez join the Florida exploration of conquistador Pánfilo de Narváez during which he offered as treasurer and also marshal.

Cabeza de Vaca Facts: Exploration and also Disaster

In 1527, the explorer named Pánfilo de Narváez was sent out by Spain’s King Charles i to explore the unknown region which the Spanish referred to as La Florida.

Cabeza de Vaca to be attached to this exploration as the expedition’s treasurer. Records suggest that he also had a military function as among the chief officers on the Narváez expedition, provided as sheriff or marshal.

On June 17, 1527, the fleet of 5 ships collection sail in the direction of the province of Pánuco. Once they quit in Hispaniola for supplies, Narváez lost approximately 150 of his men, who determined to stay on the island quite than continue with the expedition.

The expedition continued to Cuba, whereby Cabeza de Vaca took 2 ships come recruit more men and buy supplies. Your fleet to be battered through a hurricane, bring about the destruction of both ships and also loss of many of Cabeza de Vaca’s men. Narváez come days later to choose up the survivors.

By February 1528, the staying ships and also men resumed their expedition, reaching Florida in April. Lock anchored close to what is now recognized as the tropical Prada site in St. Petersburg explain this land as a possession the the Spanish empire.

After connecting with the indigenous Americans, the Spanish heard rumors that a city called Apalachen was full of food and also gold. Versus the advice that Cabeza de Vaca, Narváez chose to break-up up his men. Part 300 to be to walk on foot come Apalachen and also the various other would sail to Pánuco.

Apalachen had no gold however had just corn, however the explorers to be told a village known as Aute, around 5 or 9 work away, to be rich. They propelled on v the swamps, harassed by the indigenous Americans. A couple of Spanish men were killed and much more wounded.

When they come in Aute, they uncovered that the residents had shed down the village and left. Yet the fields had not been harvested, therefore at the very least the Spanish scavenged food there.After numerous months the fighting aboriginal inhabitants v wilderness and also swamp, the party determined to give up the inner and shot to with Pánuco.

Slaughtering and also eating their continuing to be horses, they gathered the stirrups, spurs, horseshoes and other metal items. Castle fashioned a bellows from deer hide to make a fire hot sufficient to build tools and also nails. They offered these in making 5 primitive boats to usage to obtain to Mexico.

Cabeza de Vaca commanded among these vessels, each of which held 50 men. Depleted the food and water, the men followed the coastline westward. Yet when they reached the mouth the the Mississippi River, the an effective current brushed up them out right into the Gulf, whereby the five rafts to be separated through a hurricane. Part were shed forever, including that of Narváez.

Two crafts with about 40 survivors each, consisting of Cabeza de Vaca, wrecked on or close to Galveston Island. Out of the 80 or for this reason survivors, only 15 lived previous that winter.

The explorers dubbed the island Malhado or the Island that Doom. Castle tried to repair the rafts, utilizing what remained of your own garments as oakum to plug holes, however they lost the rafts to a big wave.

Cabeza de Vaca Facts: Journey v America

As the number of survivors dwindled rapidly, they to be enslaved because that a few years by various American Indian tribes of the upper Gulf Coast. Due to the fact that Cabeza de Vaca survived and also prospered native time to time, part scholars argue that he was no enslaved but using a figure of speech. He and also other noblemen were accustomed to far better living.

Their encounters v harsh conditions and also weather, and being forced to job-related like native women must have actually seemed prefer slavery.The people to i m sorry Cabeza de Vaca to be enslaved had the Hans and the Capoques, and also tribes later referred to as the Karankawa and Coahuiltecan.

After escaping, only 4 men, Cabeza de Vaca, Andrés Dorantes de Carranza, Alonso del Castillo Maldonado, and an enslaved Moroccan Berber called Esteban, endured to with Mexico City.

Traveling greatly with this small group, Cabeza de Vaca explored what is now the U.S. State of Texas, as well as the northeastern Mexican claims of Tamaulipas, Nuevo León and Coahuila, and possibly smaller portions of new Mexico and also Arizona.

He traveled on foot through the then-colonized territories of Texas and also the coast.

He ongoing through Coahuila and Nueva Vizcaya; then under the Gulf that California shore to what is currently Sinaloa, Mexico, over a period of about eight years.

Throughout those years, Cabeza de Vaca and the other men adapted to the stays of the indigenous world they continued to be with, whom he later explained as roots People, the Fish and Blackberry People, or the Fig People, relying on their primary foods.

During his wanderings, pass from tribe to tribe, Cabeza de Vaca later reported the he occurred sympathies because that the indigenous peoples. He came to be a trader and a healer, which gave him some liberty to travel among the tribes.

As a healer, Cabeza de Vaca offered blowing come heal however claimed that God and also the Christian cross brought about his success. His heal of the sick got him a reputation together a confidence healer.

His team attracted plenty of native followers, who pertained to them together “children that the sun”, endowed through the strength to heal and also destroy. As Cabeza de Vaca thrived healthier, he determined that he would certainly make his method to Pánuco, supporting himself v trading.

He finally determined to shot to reach the Spanish swarm in Mexico. Many natives were stated to companion the explorers on their journey throughout what is now well-known as the American Southwest and also northern Mexico.

After finally reaching the conquered lands of brand-new Spain, whereby he an initial encountered other Spaniards near modern Culiacán, Cabeza de Vaca and the 3 other men reached Mexico City. From over there he sailed ago to Europe in 1537.

Numerous researchers have tried to trace his route across the Southwest. As he walk not start writing his chronicle until earlier in Spain, he had actually to depend on memory. Cabeza de Vaca was uncertain of his route. Conscious that his recollection has plenty of errors in chronology and also geography, historians have functioned to put together piece of the puzzle come discern his paths.

Cabeza de Vaca Facts: return to America

He disembarked indigenous his fleet in ~ Santa Catarina Island in modern-day Brazil. V an native force, plus 250 musketeers and also 26 horses, he followed native trails discovered by Aleixo Garcia overland to the district’s Spanish capital, Asunción, much inland on the great Paraguay River.

Cabeza de Vaca is assumed to have been the very first European to see the Iguaçu Falls.

In march 1542 Cabeza de Vaca met through Domingo Martínez de Irala and relieved the of his position as governor. The federal government of Asunción pledged loyalty to Cabeza de Vaca, and Irala was assigned to explore a feasible route come Peru. When Irala returned and reported, Cabeza de Vaca planned his very own expedition.

He hoped to with Los Reyes and also push forward into the jungle looking for a course to the gold and also silver mines of Peru.The exploration did not go well, and also Cabeza de Vaca returned to Asunción.

During his absence, Irala had actually stirred up resistance come Cabeza de Vaca’s rule and also capitalized on political rivalries. Scholars widely agree the Cabeza de Vaca had an unusually sympathetic mindset towards the native Americans because that his time.

The elite settlers in Argentina, well-known as encomenderos, normally did no agree with his enlightened conduct toward the Natives; they want to usage them because that labor.

Because he shed elite support, and Buenos Aires was failing as a settlement, no attracting enough residents, Martínez de Irala arrested Cabeza de Vaca in 1544 for poor administration. The former traveler was went back to Spain in 1545 for trial.

Although at some point exonerated, Cabeza de Vaca never returned to south America. The wrote considerable report ~ above the Río de la Plata swarm in south America, strongly criticizing the command of Martínez de Irala.

The report to be bound with his previously La Relación and published under the location Comentarios. The died poor in Seville approximately the year 1558.

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Cabeza de Vaca discovered many things during his travels and also became a recommendation for future explorers. He never ever encountered any type of of the Aztecs that continued to be after Hernan Cortes conquering or the Incas that Francisco Pizarro had conquered in south America.