Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca

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Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca
Cabeza de Vaca Portrait.jpg
Portrait of Cabeza de Vaca
Born
Birth name: Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca

c. 1488 (1488)/ 1490/ 1492
Diedc. 1557 (1558)/ 1558/ 1559/ 1560
Seville, Spain
Resting placeSpain
OccupationTreasurer, explorer, author of La relación y comentarios, and ex-governor of Río de Plata in Argentina
Spouse(s)María Marmolejo
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, c. 1488/1490/1492 [1]   Seville, c. 1557/1558/1559 [1] /1560 [2] ) was a Spanish explorer of the New World, and one of four survivors of the 1527 Narváez expedition. During eight years of traveling across the US Southwest, he became a trader and faith healer to various Native American tribes before reconnecting with Spanish civilization in Mexico in 1536. After returning to Spain in 1537, he wrote an account, first published in 1542 as La relación y comentarios ("The Account and Commentaries" [3] ), which in later editions was retitled Naufragios ("Shipwrecks"). Cabeza de Vaca is sometimes considered a proto-anthropologist for his detailed accounts of the many tribes of Native Americans that he encountered.

Jerez de la Frontera Municipality in Andalusia, Spain

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 Place in Andalusia, Spain

Seville is the capital and largest city of the autonomous community of Andalusia and the province of Seville, Spain. It is situated on the plain of the river Guadalquivir. The inhabitants of the city are known as sevillanos or hispalenses, after the Roman name of the city, Hispalis. Seville has a municipal population of about 690,000 as of 2016, and a metropolitan population of about 1.5 million, making it 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 is also the hottest major metropolitan area in the geographical Southwestern Europe, with summer average high temperatures of above 35 °C (95 °F).

New World Collectively, the Americas and Oceania

The New World is one of the names used for the majority of Earth's Western Hemisphere, specifically the Americas, and Oceania.

Contents

In 1540, Cabeza de Vaca was appointed adelantado of what is now Argentina, where he was governor and captain general of New Andalusia. [4] He worked to build up the population of Buenos Aires, where settlement had declined due to poor administration. Cabeza de Vaca was 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 Federal republic in South America

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.

Early life and education

Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca was born around 1490 into a 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". [5]

<i>Hidalgo</i> (nobility) members of the Spanish and Portuguese nobility; a nobleman without a hereditary title

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 Municipality in Andalusia, Spain

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.

Coat of Arms of Cabeza de Vaca from the Archivo de Indias, Sevilla, Spain. Reprinted in The Odyssey of Cabeza de Vaca by Morris Bishop. New York: The Century Co., 1933. Coat of Arms of Cabeza de Vaca.jpg
Coat of Arms of Cabeza de Vaca from the Archivo de Indias, Sevilla, Spain. Reprinted in The Odyssey of Cabeza de Vaca by Morris Bishop. New York: The Century Co., 1933.

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. [4]

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.

Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa battle happened in 1212 between the Christian armies of the Iberian peninsula and the Muslim armies of the Almohade Empire

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.

Moors medieval Muslim inhabitants of the Maghreb, Iberian Peninsula, Sicily, and Malta

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. [4] 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. [6] He received several medals of honor and became more of a political figure in Spain. [2] In 1527, Núñez joined the Florida expedition of conquistador Pánfilo de Narváez during which he served as treasurer and marshal. [2]

Canary Islands Archipelago in the Atlantic and autonomous community of Spain

The Canary Islands is 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 the eight regions with special consideration of historical nationality recognized as such 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 Autonomous community and province of Spain

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.

Battle of Ravenna (1512) battle

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 Spanish-Papal army from the field, their victory failed to help them secure northern Italy, and they would be forced to withdraw from the region entirely by August 1512.

Narváez Expedition and early Native American relations

Route of Narvaez expedition (until November 1528 at Galveston Island), and a historical reconstruction of Cabeza de Vaca's later wanderings Expedition Cabeza de Vaca Karte.png
Route of Narváez expedition (until November 1528 at Galveston Island), and a historical reconstruction of Cabeza de Vaca's later wanderings

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. [7] 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. [8] 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. [7]

Pánfilo de Narváez Spanish conquistador and soldier in the Americas

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 State of the United States of America

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.

Narváez expedition

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 Africans 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. [7] [9] 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. [7] 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. [7] 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). Out of the 80 or so survivors, only 15 lived past that winter. [7] The explorers called the island Malhado (“Ill fate” in Spanish), or the Island of Doom. [10] 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. [11] 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 enslaved Moroccan Berber named Esteban (later called Estevanico), survived to reach Mexico City.

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; 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. [11]

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. [12] 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. [11] 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. [7] [9] [11] 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 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.

Return to America

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. [7]

A plaque commemorating Cabeza de Vaca as the first European to see the Iguazu Falls CPonte Placa Alvar.JPG
A plaque commemorating Cabeza de Vaca as the first European to see the Iguazu Falls

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 trails [13] discovered 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. [7] The expedition did not go well, and Cabeza de Vaca returned to Asunción. [7]

During his absence, Irala had stirred up resistance to Cabeza de Vaca’s rule and capitalized on political rivalries. [7] Scholars widely agree that Cabeza de Vaca had an unusually sympathetic attitude towards the Native Americans for his time. [7] [9] [11] 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

Title page from a 1555 edition of La relacion y comentarios del gobernador Aluar Nunez Cabeca de Vaca Houghton US 2415.3 - title, La relacion.jpg
Title page from a 1555 edition of La relacion y comentarios del gobernador Aluar Nuñez Cabeca de Vaca

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. [14] 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. [15] 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.” [16] 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. [16]

Role of observer

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. [15] Cabeza de Vaca and his three fellow survivors at times served as slaves to the American Indians to survive. [14] 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.

Ambassador for Christ

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.". [17]

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. [17]

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. [17]

Personal report

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”. [15] 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”. [15] 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. [15] 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. [17]

Cabeza continued to be a strong advocate for the rights of Native American Indians throughout his lifetime. [7] [9] [11]

American Indian nations noted by name

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. [18]

Possible Karankawan groups:

Related to Karankawa:

Possible Tonkawan groups:

Possible Coahuiltecan or desert groups:

Comentarios

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. [20] 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.

Later editions

In 1906, Naufragios was published in a new edition in Madrid, Spain. [21] 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.[ citation needed ]

Place in Chicano literature

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. [22] His account is the first known written description of the American Southwest. [4]

Film adaptation

Representation in other media

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." [24] 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 Cabeza de Vaca

Bibliography

English editions

Books about Cabeza de Vaca

Spanish

Italian

See also

Related Research Articles

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Harold Augenbraum American critic, editor and translator

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 Spanish conquistador

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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.

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Juan de Salazar y Espinosa (1508–1560) was a Spanish explorer, founder of the Paraguayan city of Asunción. Born in the city of Espinosa de los Monteros in Burgos, Spain, not much is known about his early life.

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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 German explorer

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.

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Eloísa Gómez-Lucena is a Spanish contemporary writer.

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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 American historian

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References

  1. 1 2 "Cabeza de Vaca, Alvar Núñez (1492?-1559?)." American Eras. Vol. 1: Early American Civilizations and Exploration to 1600. Detroit: Gale, 1997. 50-51. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 10 Dec. 2014.
  2. 1 2 3 "Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2014. Web. 08 Dec. 2014.
  3. The Account: Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca's Relacion, title of 1993 English translation by Martin Favata and Jose Fernandez.
  4. 1 2 3 4 "Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca," Encyclopedia of World Biography. 2nd ed. Vol. 3. Detroit: Gale, 2004. 197. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 5 Dec. 2014.
  5. Cabeza de Vaca, Prologue, La relación (1542). Note: The surname Cabeza de Vaca (meaning "cow head") was granted to his mother's family in the 13th century, when his ancestor Martín Alhaja aided a Christian army attacking Moors by leaving a cow's head and a pile of rocks to point out a small secret mountain pass for their use.
  6. Childress, Diana (2008). Barefoot Conquistador: Cabeza de Vaca and the Struggle for Native American Rights. Twenty-First Century Books. pp. 12–13. ISBN   0822575175.
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 ""Alvar Nunez Cabeza De Vaca." The Mariners' Museum". Exploration Through the Ages. December 5, 2014. Archived from the original on 2014-12-11.>
  8. Reséndez, Andrés (Fall 2008). "A Desperate Trek Across America". American Heritage . Vol. 58 no. 5. American Heritage Publishing. Retrieved 2010-07-26.[ permanent dead link ]
  9. 1 2 3 4 "Alvar Nuñez Cabeza De Vaca". PBS. December 5, 2014.
  10. Chipman, Donald E. "Malhado Island". TSHA Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association.
  11. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Learning From Cabeza De Vaca." Texas Beyond History. Web. 6 Dec. 2014. http://www.texasbeyondhistory.net/cabeza-cooking/encounters.html
  12. Carlos Jauregui's "Cabeza de Vaca, Mala Cosa y las vicisitudes de la extrañeza"
  13. p. 128, Caminhos da Conquista: Formação do Espaço Brasileiro, Vallandro Keating and Ricardo Maranhão, ed. Terceiro Nome, São Paulo, 2008
  14. 1 2 Encyclopædia Britannica Online Academic Edition
  15. 1 2 3 4 5 Baym, Nina. "Álvar Núñez Cabeza De Vaca," in The Norton Anthology of American Literature, 7th ed. Vol. A. New York: W.W. Norton, 2007, pp. 40–48
  16. 1 2 "Background on The Journey of Alvar Nuסez Cabeza de Vaca", American Journeys]
  17. 1 2 3 4 Cabeza de Vaca, Álvar Núñez. The Journey of Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca and his companions from Florida to the Pacific 1528-1536. Translation of La Relacion, ed. Ad. F. Bandelier. New York, Allerton Book Co. 1904
  18. "The First Europeans in Texas", Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Vol 22, 1919
  19. Donald Chipman, "In Search of Cabeza De Vaca's Route Across Texas", Texas State University Library
  20. Cabeza de Vaca, Álvar Núñez. Chronicle of the Narváez Expedition, Translation of 'La Relacion', translated by David Frye, edited by Ilan Stavans. Norton Critical Edition, 2013
  21. Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, Alvar. Relación de Los Naufragios Y Comentarios de Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca. Madrid: V. Suárez, 1906. Print. Colección de Libros Y Documentos Referentes Á La Historia de América t. v-vi.
  22. Herrera, Spencer R. "Chicano Writers," in World Literature in Spanish: An Encyclopedia. Ed. Maureen Ihrie and Salvador A. Oropesa. Vol. 1. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2011. pp.183-184, Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 5 Dec. 2014
  23. "Berlinale: 1991 Programme". berlinale.de. Retrieved 2011-03-21.
  24. Laila Lalami, The Moor's Account. New York: Pantheon Books, 2014. ISBN   978-0307911667.

La Relación online

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Preceded by
Domingo Martínez de Irala
Governor of New Andalusia
1540-1544
Succeeded by
Domingo Martínez de Irala