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Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca
Portrait of Cabeza de Vaca
Birth name: Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca
c. 1488 / 1490/ 1492
|Died||c. 1557/ 1558/ 1559/ 1560|
|Occupation||Treasurer, explorer, author of La relación y comentarios, and ex-governor of Río de Plata in Argentina|
|Parent(s)||Francisco de Vera (father), Teresa Cabeza de Vaca y de Zurita (mother)|
Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈalβaɾ ˈnũɲeθ kaˈβeθa ðe ˈβaka] (
Jerez de la Frontera, or simply Jerez, is a Spanish city and municipality in the province of Cádiz in the autonomous community of Andalusia, in southwestern Spain, located midway between the Atlantic Ocean and the Cádiz Mountains. As of 2015, the city, the largest in the province, had a population of 212,876. It is the fifth largest in Andalusia, and has become the transportation and communications hub of the province, surpassing even Cádiz, the provincial capital, in economic activity. Jerez de la Frontera is also, in terms of land area, the largest municipality in the province, and its sprawling outlying areas are a fertile zone for agriculture. There are also many cattle ranches and horse-breeding operations, as well as a world-renowned wine industry (Xerez).
Seville is a Spanish city, the capital of the autonomous community of Andalusia and the province of Seville. It is situated on the lower reaches of the Guadalquivir River, in the southwest of the Iberian Peninsula. Seville has a municipal population of about 690,000 as of 2016, and a metropolitan population of about 1.5 million, making it the largest city in Andalusia, the fourth-largest city in Spain and the 30th most populous municipality in the European Union. Its Old Town, with an area of 4 square kilometres (2 sq mi), contains three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Alcázar palace complex, the Cathedral and the General Archive of the Indies. The Seville harbour, located about 80 kilometres from the Atlantic Ocean, is the only river port in Spain. Seville experiences high temperatures in the Summer, with daily maximums routinely above 35 °C (95 °F) in July and August.
The New World is one of the names used for the majority of Earth's Western Hemisphere, specifically the Americas, and Oceania.
In 1540, Cabeza de Vaca was appointed adelantado of what is now Argentina, where he was governor and captain general of New Andalusia.He worked to build up the population of Buenos Aires but, charged with poor administration, he was arrested in 1544 and then transported to Spain for trial in 1545. Although his sentence was eventually commuted, he never returned to the Americas. He died in Seville.
Adelantado was a title held by Spanish nobles in service of their respective kings during the Middle Ages. It was later used as a military title held by some Spanish conquistadores of the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries.
Argentina, officially the Argentine Republic, is a country located mostly in the southern half of South America. Sharing the bulk of the Southern Cone with Chile to the west, the country is also bordered by Bolivia and Paraguay to the north, Brazil to the northeast, Uruguay and the South Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Drake Passage to the south. With a mainland area of 2,780,400 km2 (1,073,500 sq mi), Argentina is the eighth-largest country in the world, the fourth largest in the Americas, and the largest Spanish-speaking nation. The sovereign state is subdivided into twenty-three provinces and one autonomous city, Buenos Aires, which is the federal capital of the nation as decided by Congress. The provinces and the capital have their own constitutions, but exist under a federal system. Argentina claims sovereignty over part of Antarctica, the Falkland Islands, and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.
Captaincies were military and administrative divisions in colonial Spanish America and the Spanish Philippines, established in areas under risk of foreign invasion or Indian attack. They could consist of just one province, or group several together. These captaincies general should be distinguished from the ones given to almost all of the conquistadores, which was based on an older tradition. During the Reconquista, the term "captain general" and similar ones had been used for the official in charge of all the troops in a given district. This office was transferred to America during the conquest and was usually granted along with the hereditary governorship to the adelantado in the patent issued by the Crown. This established a precedent that was recognized by the New Laws of 1542, but ultimately the crown eliminated all hereditary governorships in its overseas possessions.
Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca was born around 1490 into an hidalgo family, the son of Francisco Núñez de Vera and Teresa Cabeza de Vaca y de Zurita, in the town of Jerez de la Frontera, Cádiz, Spain. Despite the family's status as minor nobility, they possessed modest economic resources. In 16th-century documents, his name appears as "Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca".
An hidalgo or a fidalgo is a member of the Spanish or Portuguese nobility; the feminine forms of the terms are hidalga, in Spanish, and fidalga, in Portuguese and Galician. In popular usage, the term hidalgo identifies a nobleman without a hereditary title. In practice, hidalgos were exempted from paying taxes, yet owned little real property.
Cádiz is a city and port in southwestern Spain. It is the capital of the Province of Cádiz, one of eight which make up the autonomous community of Andalusia.
Álvar Núñez's maternal surname, Cabeza de Vaca (meaning "cow's head") was said to be associated with a maternal ancestor, Martín Alhaja. He had shown the Spanish king a secret mountain pass, marked by a cow's skull, enabling the king to win the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa against the Muslim Moors in 1212.
Martín Alhaja was a Spanish shepherd who aided the Castilian King Alfonso VIII during the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212 A.D. Alhaja, who knew the area, to herd his sheep had placed a cow skull on the path that led to the field behind the Moors and onto the battlefield. The Spanish Christian King surprised the Moorish army and defeated them. This was the first significant victory for the Christian Spanish during their reconquest of Spain.
The Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa, known in Arab history as the Battle of Al-Uqab, took place on 16 July 1212 and was an important turning point in the Reconquista and in the medieval history of Spain. The Christian forces of King Alfonso VIII of Castile were joined by the armies of his rivals, Sancho VII of Navarre, Peter II of Aragon and Afonso II of Portugal, in battle against the Almohad Muslim rulers of the southern half of the Iberian Peninsula. The Caliph al-Nasir led the Almohad army, made up of people from the whole Almohad empire. Most of the men in the Almohad army came from the African side of the empire.
The term "Moors" refers primarily to the Muslim inhabitants of the Maghreb, the Iberian Peninsula, Sicily, and Malta during the Middle Ages. The Moors initially were the indigenous Maghrebine Berbers. The name was later also applied to Arabs.
Some sources indicate that after his parents died when he was young, the boy Álvar was taken in by relatives (most likely his aunt and uncle or his paternal grandfather, Pedro de Vera). Evidence suggests that he probably had a moderately comfortable early life. He was appointed chamberlain for the house of a noble family in his teen years then participated in the conquest of the Canary Islands, where he was appointed a governor.In 1511 he enlisted in the Spanish army, serving in Italy (with distinction), Spain and Navarre. Cabeza de Vaca was wounded at the Battle of Ravenna in 1512, served as lieutenant in the Italian city of Gaeta, married María Marmolejo, who came from a prominent converso family, and supported King Charles during the Revolt of the Comuneros. He received several medals of honor and became more of a political figure in Spain. In 1527, Núñez joined the Florida expedition of conquistador Pánfilo de Narváez during which he served as treasurer and marshal.
The Canary Islands are a Spanish archipelago and the southernmost autonomous community of Spain located in the Atlantic Ocean, 100 kilometres west of Morocco at the closest point. The Canary Islands, which are also known informally as the Canaries, are among the outermost regions (OMR) of the European Union proper. It is also one of eight regions with special consideration of historical nationality as recognized by the Spanish Government. The Canary Islands belong to the African Plate like the Spanish cities of Ceuta and Melilla, the two on the African mainland.
Navarre, officially the Chartered Community of Navarre, is an autonomous community and province in northern Spain, bordering the Basque Autonomous Community, La Rioja, and Aragon in Spain and Nouvelle-Aquitaine in France. The capital city is Pamplona.
The Battle of Ravenna, fought on 11 April 1512, by forces of the Holy League, France and Ferrara was a major battle of the War of the League of Cambrai in the Italian Wars. Although the French and the Ferrarese drove the Papal-Spanish army from the field, their general Gaston of Foix died in battle and the victory failed to help them secure northern Italy. The French would be forced to withdraw entirely from Italy in the summer of 1512, as Swiss mercenaries hired by Pope Julius II and Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor arrived in Lombardy and restored the Sforza to power in Milan.
In 1527, Pánfilo de Narváez was sent by Spain's King Charles V to explore the unknown territory which the Spanish called La Florida, including not only present-day Florida but a large, poorly-defined section of what today is the southeastern United States.Cabeza de Vaca was attached to this expedition as the expedition's treasurer. Records indicate that he also had a military role as one of the chief officers on the Narváez expedition, noted as sheriff or marshal. On June 17, 1527, the fleet of five ships set sail towards the province of Pánuco (which was on the western border of Florida). When they stopped in Hispaniola for supplies, Narváez lost approximately 150 of his men, who chose to stay on the island rather than continue with the expedition.
Pánfilo de Narváez was a Spanish conquistador and soldier in the Americas. Born in Spain, he first embarked to Jamaica in 1510 as a soldier. He came to participate in the conquest of Cuba and led an expedition to Camagüey escorting Bartolomé de las Casas. Las Casas described him as exceedingly cruel towards the natives.
Florida is the southernmost contiguous state in the United States. The state is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the northwest by Alabama, to the north by Georgia, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, and to the south by the Straits of Florida. Florida is the 22nd-most extensive, the 3rd-most populous, and the 8th-most densely populated of the U.S. states. Jacksonville is the most populous municipality in the state and the largest city by area in the contiguous United States. The Miami metropolitan area is Florida's most populous urban area. Tallahassee is the state's capital.
The Narváez expedition was a Spanish journey of exploration and colonization started in 1527 that intended to establish colonial settlements and garrisons in Florida. The expedition was initially led by Pánfilo de Narváez, who died in 1528. More men died as the expedition traveled west along the unexplored Gulf Coast of the present-day United States and into the American Southwest. Only four of the expedition's original members survived, reaching Mexico City in 1536. These survivors were the first known Europeans, and the first African, to see the Mississippi River, and to cross the Gulf of Mexico and Texas.
The expedition continued to Cuba, where Cabeza de Vaca took two ships to recruit more men and buy supplies. Their fleet was battered by a hurricane, resulting in the destruction of both ships and loss of most of Cabeza de Vaca's men. Narváez arrived days later to pick up the survivors.By February 1528, the remaining ships and men resumed their expedition, reaching Florida in April. They anchored near what is now known as the Jungle Prada Site in St. Petersburg, claiming this land as a possession of the Spanish crown.
After communicating with the Native Americans, the Spanish heard rumours that a city named Apalachen was full of food and gold. Against the advice of Cabeza de Vaca, Narváez decided to split up his men. Some 300 were to go on foot to Apalachen and the other would sail to Pánuco.Apalachen had no gold but had only corn, but the explorers were told a village known as Aute, about 5 or 9 days away, was rich. They pushed on through the swamps, harassed by the Native Americans. A few Spanish men were killed and more wounded. When they arrived in Aute, they found that the inhabitants had burned down the village and left. But the fields had not been harvested, so at least the Spanish scavenged food there. After several months of fighting native inhabitants through wilderness and swamp, the party decided to abandon the interior and try to reach Pánuco.
Slaughtering and eating their remaining horses, they gathered the stirrups, spurs, horseshoes and other metal items. They fashioned a bellows from deer hide to make a fire hot enough to forge tools and nails. They used these in making five primitive boats to use to get to Mexico. Cabeza de Vaca commanded one of these vessels, each of which held 50 men. Depleted of food and water, the men followed the coast westward. But when they reached the mouth of the Mississippi River, the powerful current swept them out into the Gulf, where the five rafts were separated by a hurricane. Some lives were lost forever, including that of Narváez.
Two crafts with about 40 survivors each, including Cabeza de Vaca, wrecked on or near Galveston Island (now part of Texas). Of the 80 or so survivors, only 15 lived past that winter.The explorers called the island Malhado (“Ill fated” in Spanish), or the Island of Doom. They tried to repair the rafts, using what remained of their own clothes as oakum to plug holes, but they lost the rafts to a large wave.
As the number of survivors dwindled rapidly, they were enslaved for a few years by various American Indian tribes of the upper Gulf Coast. Because Cabeza de Vaca survived and prospered from time to time, some scholars argue that he was not enslaved but using a figure of speech. He and other noblemen were accustomed to better living. Their encounters with harsh conditions and weather, and being required to work like native women, must have seemed like slavery.The tribes to which Cabeza de Vaca was enslaved included the Hans and the Capoques, and tribes later called the Karankawa and Coahuiltecan. After escaping, only four men, Cabeza de Vaca, Andrés Dorantes de Carranza, Alonso del Castillo Maldonado, and an African slave of Dorantes, identified in the Relación of Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca as "Estevanico, he is an Arabic-speaking black man, a native of Azamor".
Traveling mostly with this small group, Cabeza de Vaca explored what is now the U.S. state of Texas, as well as the northeastern Mexican states of Tamaulipas, Nuevo León and Coahuila, and possibly smaller portions of New Mexico and Arizona. He traveled on foot through the then-colonized territories of Texas and the coast[ which? ]. He continued through Coahuila and Nueva Vizcaya (present-day states of Chihuahua and Durango); then down the Gulf of California coast to what is now Sinaloa, Mexico, over a period of roughly eight years. Throughout those years, Cabeza de Vaca and the other men adapted to the lives of the indigenous people they stayed with, whom he later described as Roots People, the Fish and Blackberry People, or the Fig People, depending on their principal foods.
During his wanderings, passing from tribe to tribe, Cabeza de Vaca later reported that he developed sympathies for the indigenous peoples. He became a trader and a healer, which gave him some freedom to travel among the tribes.As a healer, Cabeza de Vaca used blowing (like the Native Americans) to heal, but claimed that God and the Christian cross led to his success. His healing of the sick gained him a reputation as a faith healer. His group attracted numerous native followers, who regarded them as "children of the sun", endowed with the power to heal and destroy. As Cabeza de Vaca grew healthier, he decided that he would make his way to Pánuco, supporting himself through trading. He finally decided to try to reach the Spanish colony in Mexico. Many natives were said to accompany the explorers on their journey across what is now known as the American Southwest and northern Mexico.
After finally reaching the colonized lands of New Spain, where he first encountered fellow Spaniards near modern-day Culiacán, Cabeza de Vaca and the three other men reached Mexico City. From there he sailed back to Europe in 1537.
Numerous researchers have tried to trace his route across the Southwest. As he did not begin writing his chronicle until he was back in Spain, he had to rely on memory. He did not have the instruments (clock and astrolabe) to determine his location; he had to rely on dead reckoning, and was uncertain of his route. Aware that his recollection has numerous errors in chronology and geography, historians have worked to put together pieces of the puzzle to discern his paths.
In 1540, Cabeza de Vaca was appointed adelantado of the Río de la Plata in South America. The colony comprised parts of what is now Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay. Cabeza de Vaca was assigned to find a usable route from this colony to the colony in Peru, on the other side of the Andes Mountains on the Pacific Coast.
En route, he disembarked from his fleet at Santa Catarina Island in modern Brazil. With an indigenous force, plus 250 musketeers and 26 horses, he followed native trailsdiscovered by Aleixo Garcia overland to the district's Spanish capital, Asunción, far inland on the great Paraguay River. Cabeza de Vaca is thought to have been the first European to see the Iguaçu Falls.
In March 1542 Cabeza de Vaca met with Domingo Martínez de Irala and relieved him of his position as governor. The government of Asunción pledged loyalty to Cabeza de Vaca, and Irala was assigned to explore a possible route to Peru. Once Irala returned and reported, Cabeza de Vaca planned his own expedition. He hoped to reach Los Reyes (a base that Irala set up) and push forward into the jungle in search of a route to the gold and silver mines of Peru.The expedition did not go well, and Cabeza de Vaca returned to Asunción.
During his absence, Irala had stirred up resistance to Cabeza de Vaca's rule and capitalized on political rivalries.Scholars widely agree that Cabeza de Vaca had an unusually sympathetic attitude towards the Native Americans for his time. The elite settlers in modern Argentina, known as encomenderos , generally did not agree with his enlightened conduct toward the Natives; they wanted to use them for labor. Because he lost elite support, and Buenos Aires was failing as a settlement, not attracting enough residents, Martínez de Irala arrested Cabeza de Vaca in 1544 for poor administration. The former explorer was returned to Spain in 1545 for trial.
Although eventually exonerated, Cabeza de Vaca never returned to South America. He wrote an extensive report on the Río de la Plata colony in South America, strongly criticizing the conduct of Martínez de Irala. The report was bound with his earlier La Relación and published under the title Comentarios (Commentary). He died poor in Seville around the year 1560.
La relación of Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca is the account of his experiences with the Narvaez expedition and after being wrecked on Galveston Island in November 1528. Cabeza de Vaca and his last three men struggled to survive.They wandered along the Texas coast as prisoners of the Han and Capoque American Indians for two years, while Cabeza de Vaca observed the people, picking up their ways of life and customs. They traveled through the American Southwest and ultimately reached Mexico City, nearly eight years after being wrecked on the island.
In 1537, Cabeza de Vaca returned to Spain, where he wrote his narratives of the Narvaez expedition. These narratives were collected and published in 1542 in Spain. They are now known as The Relation of Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca. The narrative of Cabeza de Vaca is the “first European book devoted completely to North America.”His detailed account describes the lives of numerous tribes of American Indians of the time. Cabeza de Vaca showed compassion and respect for native peoples, which, together with the great detail he recorded, distinguishes his narrative from others of the period.
Cabeza de Vaca reported on the customs and ways of American Indian life, aware of his status as an early European explorer. He spent eight years with various peoples, including the Capoque, Han, Avavare, and Arbadao. He describes details of the culture of the Malhado people, the Capoque, and Han American Indians, such as their treatment of offspring, their wedding rites, and their main sources of food.Cabeza de Vaca and his three fellow survivors at times served as slaves to the American Indians to survive. Through his observations, Cabeza de Vaca provides insights into 16th-century American Indian life near the present-day Mexico-Texas border.
For many peoples the accounts of Cabeza de Vaca and Hernando de Soto are the only written records of their existence. By the time of the next European contact, many had vanished, possibly from diseases carried by Cabeza de Vaca and his companions.
One of Cabeza de Vaca's greatest achievements of his journey, was that he played an important role as an ambassador to bring peace throughout the land. As the party of travellers passed from one tribe to the next, warring tribes would immediately make peace and become friendly, so that the natives could receive the party and give them gifts. Cabeza notes in his personal account of his journey that in this way; "We left the whole country in peace." Cabeza saw these events as part of his mission and purpose in America, acknowledging in his account that he believed that: "God was guiding us to where we could serve Him.".
Cabeza's greatest challenge as an ambassador came when he attempted to bring peace between the conquering Spanish army and the natives. As Cabeza approached Spanish settlement, he and his companions were very grieved to see the destruction of the native villages and enslavement of the natives. The fertile land lay uncultivated and the natives were nearly starving, hiding in the forest, for fear of the Spanish army.
Cabeza then encountered Diego de Alcaraz, commander of a slavery expedition of about 20 horsemen and attempted to negotiate peace between them and the natives. However, as soon as they departed, Diego went back on his word and plundered Cabeza's entourage of natives that he had sent back home. Not long after this, Cabeza encountered the chief Alcalde (Spanish captain of the province) named Melchor Diaz. Melchor Diaz ordered Cabeza to bring the natives back from the forests so that they would re-cultivate the land. Cabeza and Melchor invited the natives to convert to Christianity and the natives did so willingly. Cabeza instructed them to build a large wooden cross in each village, which would cause members of the Spanish army to pass through the village and not attack it. Soon afterward the Diego de Alcaraz expedition returned and explained to Melchor that they were shocked at how, on their return journey, not only did they find the land repopulated, but the natives coming to greet them with crosses in hand and also gave them provisions. Melchor then ordered Diego that no harm be done to them.
Cabeza de Vaca wrote this narrative to Charles V to “transmit what I saw and heard in the nine years I wandered lost and miserable over many remote lands”.He wanted to convey “not merely a report of positions and distances, flora and fauna, but of the customs of the numerous indigenous people I talked with and dwelt among, as well as any other matters I could hear of or observe”. He took care to present facts, as a full account of what he observed. The Relation is the only account of many details concerning the indigenous people whom he encountered. The accuracy of his account has been validated by later reports of others, as well as by the oral traditions of descendants of some of the tribes.
Cabeza's account also served as a petition to the King of Spain to both establish a permanent Christian mission and eventually establish the native tribes as a nation under the governance of Spain. In his reflection Cabeza writes to the king of Spain:
May God in His infinite mercy grant that in the days of Your Majesty and under your power and sway, these people become willingly and sincerely subjects of the true Lord Who created and redeemed them. We believe they will be, and that Your Majesty is destined to bring it about, as it will not be at all difficult.
Cabeza continued to be a strong advocate for the rights of Native American Indians throughout his lifetime.
Cabeza De Vaca identified the following peoples by name in his La Relacion (1542). The following list shows his names, together with what scholars suggested in 1919 were the likely tribes identified by names used in the 20th century. By that time, tribal identification was also related to more linguistic data.
Possible Karankawan groups:
Related to Karankawa:
Possible Tonkawan groups:
Possible Coahuiltecan or desert groups:
In 1555, after a four-year position as Adelantado in Rio de la Plata, Cabeza de Vaca wrote from memory a chronicle of the Narvaez expedition in South America.It is believed that his secretary at the time, Pero Hernández, transcribed Cabeza de Vaca's account in what is known as Comentarios. The publication of Comentarios was appended to La relación as a joint publication in Valladolid, Spain entitled: Naufragios. At that time, explorers often published their reports of travels in foreign lands.
In 1906, Naufragios was published in a new edition in Madrid, Spain. [ citation needed ]The introduction says the intent of this edition was to publicize Cabeza de Vaca's observations and experiences to strengthen authentic representations. This has been described as having the objective of portraying Cabeza de Vaca as less aggressive , while trying to authenticate his role as a sympathetic observer of the natives.
Herrera (2011) classifies Cabeza de Vaca's La Relacion as the first major contribution to Chicano literature. Scholars have identified five major periods of Chicano literature: Spanish Mexican, Mexican American, Annexation, Chicano Renaissance, and Modern. Cabeza de Vaca is classified as part of the Spanish Mexican period; he recounted eight years of travel and survival in the area of Chicano culture: present-day Texas, New Mexico, and northern Mexico.His account is the first known written description of the American Southwest.
Laila Lalami's novel, The Moor's Account (2014), is a fictional memoir of Estevanico, the Moroccan slave who survived the journey and accompanied Cabeza de Vaca through the Southwest. He is considered to be the first black explorer of North America. Lalami claims that the chronicle gives him one sentence: "The fourth [survivor] is Estevanico, an Arab Negro from Azamor."However, there are several others referenced to him in the account.
Lord Buckley created a monologue The Gasser based on Haniel Long's novella. This was first recorded in 1954 and again in 1959.
His story is noted in the first episode of Ken Burns' The West, a PBS documentary which first aired in 1996.
|Ancestors of Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca[ citation needed ]|
| Library resources about |
Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca
|url=(help). Terra Incógnita (in Spanish). Barcelona: Edhasa. ISBN 9788435039864.
The Karankawa were a Native American people concentrated in southern Texas along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. They consisted of several independent seasonal nomadic groups who shared the same language and much of the same culture. The tribe included the groups called the Cujanes, Cocos, Guapites (Coapites), and Copanes. Some of the village names survived to modern day and are the Ebahamo, Emet, Kouyam, Meracouman, Quara, Quinet, and the Toyal villages.
Estevanico was an Moroccan explorer from Azemmour, he became the first African explorer of North America. He has been referred to as "the first great black man in America".. He is known as Esteban de Dorantes, Estebanico, and Esteban the Moor, or Mustafa Azemmouri. He was sold to a Spanish nobleman in Spain in about 1521, and taken in 1527 on the Spanish Narváez expedition to establish a colony in "La Florida", which at the time was composed of present-day Florida, and all unexplored lands to the north and west, including Northern Mexico. The expedition, led by the newly-appointed adelantado (governor) of La Florida, Pánfilo de Narváez, left Cuba in February 1528 intending to go to Isla de las Palmas near present-day Tampico, Mexico, to establish two settlements. Storms and strong winds forced the fleet to the western coast of Florida. The Narváez expedition landed in present-day St. Petersburg, FL on the shores of Boca Ciega Bay. Narváez ordered that his ships and 100 men and 10 women sail north in search of a large harbor that his pilots assured them was nearby. He led 300 men, with 42 horses, north along the coast, intending to rejoin his ships at the large harbor. There is no large harbor north of Boca Ciega Bay and Narváez never saw his ships again. After marching 300 miles north, they build boats to sail westward along the Gulf Coast shoreline hoping to reach Pánuco and the Rio de las Palmas. A storm struck them when they were near Galveston Island, Texas. Approximately 80 men survived the storm, being washed ashore at Galveston Island. All but four died in captivity in the Galveston Island area during the ensuing six years. The four Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, Andrés Dorantes de Carranza, Alonso del Castillo Maldonado and Estevanico escaped in 1534 and traveled west into Texas and Northern Mexico. They were the first Europeans and the first African to enter the American west. Having walked nearly 2,000 miles since their initial landing in Florida, they reached an area near Sinaloa, Mexico where they encountered Spanish slavers, then travelled to Mexico City, 1,000 miles to the south. Little would be known about Estevanico were it not for the fact that Cabeza de Vaca published a book about their 8-year survival journey, the Relación in 1542 and again in 1555. It became the first book ever published describing the peoples, wildlife, flora and fauna of inland North America, and the first to describe the American bison. In the Relación, Cabeza de Vaca often referred to Estevanico as "the black" and described him as the one who went in advance of the other three survivors, as he was the most able to communicate with the native Indians that they encountered. In the last sentence of the Relación Cabeza de Vaca identifies "the black" who had been on the survival journey. In a translation done by Sterling Professor Rolena Adorn and researcher Charles Patrick Pautz, it is translated as, "The fourth is named Estevanico; he is an Arabic-speaking black man, a native of Azamor". Another translation, done by Professors Martin A Favata and José B. Fernández translated the last sentence as "The fourth is named Estebanico, he is a black Arab and a native of Azamor"
The Sierra de la Plata was a mythical source of silver in the interior of South America. The legend began in the early 16th century when castaways from the Juan Díaz de Solís expedition heard indigenous stories of a mountain of silver in an inland region ruled by the so-called White King. The first European to lead an expedition in search of it was the castaway Aleixo Garcia, who crossed nearly the entire continent to reach the Andean altiplano. On his way back to the coast, Garcia died in an ambush by indigenous tribespeople in Paraguay, but survivors brought precious metals back to corroborate their story. The legend inspired other expeditions, all of which ended in failure.
Fray Marcos de Niza was a missionary and Franciscan friar. He is credited with being the first European in what is now the State of Arizona in the United States.
Harold Augenbraum is an American writer, editor, and translator. He is the former Executive Director of the National Book Foundation, and former member of the Board of Trustees of the Asian American Writers Workshop, and former vice chair of the New York Council for the Humanities. Before taking up his position at the National Book Foundation in November 2004, for fifteen years Augenbraum was Director of The Mercantile Library of New York, where he established the Center for World Literature, the New York Festival of Mystery, the Clifton Fadiman Medal, and the Proust Society of America. He has been awarded eight grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, received a Raven Award from the Mystery Writers of America for distinguished service to the mystery field, and coordinated the national celebration of the John Steinbeck Centennial. He is on the advisory board of the literary magazine The Common, based at Amherst College.
Cabeza de Vaca is a 1991 Mexican film about the adventures of Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, an early Spanish explorer, as he traversed what later became the American Southeast. He was one of four survivors of the Narvaez expedition and shipwreck. He became known as a shaman among the Native American tribes he encountered, which helped him survive. His journey of a number of years began in 1528. After his return to Spain, he published his journal in 1542. The screenplay by Guillermo Sheridan and Nicolás Echevarría is based on this journal.
Domingo Martínez de Irala was a Spanish Basque conquistador.
Juan de Ayolas was a conquistador born in Briviesca who explored the watershed of the Río de la Plata for the Spanish Crown. He accompanied Pedro de Mendoza on his 1534 expedition to colonize the region between the Río de la Plata and the Strait of Magellan and briefly succeeded him as the second governor of the region after Mendoza returned home in 1537.
The Zuni-Cibola Complex is a collection of prehistoric and historic archaeological sites on the Zuni Pueblo in western New Mexico. It comprises Hawikuh, Yellow House, Kechipbowa, and Great Kivas, all sites of long residence and important in the early Spanish colonial contact period. It was declared a National Historic Landmark District in 1974. These properties were considered as major elements of a national park, but the proposal was ultimately rejected by the Zuni people.
Ulrich Schmidl or Schmidel was a German Landsknecht, conquistador, explorer, chronicler and councilman. Schmidl was, beside Hans Staden, one of the few Landsknechts who wrote down their experiences.
Rubén Caba, born in Madrid, is a Spanish novelist and essayist. Degrees in Law and in Philosophy at de Universidad Complutense de Madrid. And graduated in Sociology at Instituto de Estudios Políticos, Madrid.
Eloísa Gómez-Lucena is a Spanish contemporary writer.
Andrés González de Barcia was a Spanish historian and one of the founders of the Royal Spanish Academy.
Ruy Diaz Melgarejo was a miner, military, conqueror and statesman who established the Spanish Crown in the region of Río de la Plata in South America. His life was marked by wars, conspiracies, persecutions and family conflicts. Melgarejo enjoyed the favor of the Spanish crown. He almost absolutely ruled the independent province of Guayrá for 30 years.
Alonso del Castillo Maldonado was an early Spanish explorer in the Americas. He was one of the last four survivors of the Pánfilo de Narváez expedition, along with Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, Andrés Dorantes de Carranza and his African slave Estevanico. They were the early non-natives people to travel in the Southwest region of the modern United States. Castillo Maldonado lived with a Native American tribe in Texas in 1527 and 1528.
Andrés Dorantes de Carranza, was an early Spanish explorer in the Americas. He was one of the four last survivors of the Narváez expedition, along with Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, Dorantes' slave Estevanico, and Alonso del Castillo Maldonado. They were the first non-native people to travel in the Southwest region of the modern United States.
Alonso de Solís was a soldier and explorer who served as governor of Florida between April and July 4, 1576, when he was killed. He also participated in the Narváez expedition as royal inspector of mines.
Rolena Adorno is an American humanities scholar, the Spanish Sterling Professor at Yale University and bestselling author.
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Domingo Martínez de Irala
| Governor of New Andalusia |
Domingo Martínez de Irala