Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca

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.

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.

Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca
Cabeza de Vaca Portrait
Portrait of Cabeza de Vaca
Birth name: Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca

c. 1488/ 1490/ 1492
Diedc. 1557/ 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)

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]

Coat of Arms of Cabeza de Vaca
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 “head of cow”) 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]

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]

Narváez Expedition and early Native American relations

Expedition Cabeza de Vaca Karte
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]

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. 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]

CPonte Placa Alvar
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

Houghton US 2415.3 - title, La relacion
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:

  • Capoques – Cocos
  • Deaguanes – Cujanes
  • Quevenes – Copanes
  • Guaycones – Guapites
  • Camones – Karankaguases?

Related to Karankawa:

  • Charruco – Bidai-Orcoquiza
  • Han – Bidai-Orcoquiza

Possible Tonkawan groups:

  • Mendica – Tamiques
  • Mariames – Jaranames
  • Iguaces – Anaquas

Possible Coahuiltecan or desert groups:

  • Quitoles
  • The "Fig People"
  • Acubadaos
  • Avavares
  • Anegados
  • Cutalchuches
  • Maliacones
  • Susolas
  • Comos – Comecrudo
  • Cuayos
  • Arbadaos
  • Atayos
  • Cuchendados[19]


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.

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.


English editions

  • 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.
  • Cabeza de Vaca, Álvar Núñez. The Narrative of Cabeza De Vaca, Translation of La Relacion, ed. Rolena Adorno and Patrick Charles Pautz. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press 2003. ISBN 0-8032-6416-X (one of many editions)
  • Cabeza de Vaca, Álvar Núñez. Cabeza de Vaca's Adventures in the Unknown Interior of America, Translation of La Relación, Cyclone Covey. Santa Fe, NM: University of New Mexico Press 1983. ISBN 0-8263-0656-X
  • The Account: Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca's Relacíon. Translated by Martin Favata and Jose Fernández. Houston: Arte Público Press. February 1993 [1542]. ISBN 978-1558850606.
  • 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. ISBN 978-0393918151
  • Cabeza de Vaca, Álvar Núñez. The Commentaries of Alvar Nunez Cabeza De Vaca., The Conquest of the River Plate, part II. London: Hakluyt, 1891 (first English edition).

Books about Cabeza de Vaca

  • Adorno, Rolena and Pautz, Patrick Charles. Alvar Nunez Cabeza De Vaca: His Account, His Life and the Expedition of Panfilo De Narvaez, 3 volumes, in English; University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, London (1999); hardcover; ISBN 978-0803214637
  • Howard, David A. (1996). Conquistador in Chains: Cabeza de Vaca and the Indians of the Americas. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press. ISBN 978-0817308285.
  • Krieger, Alex D. We Came Naked and Barefoot: The Journey of Cabeza de Vaca across North America. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2002. ISBN 978-0-292-74235-2.
  • Long, Haniel. Interlinear to Cabeza de Vaca (1936), a fictionalized account of Cabeza de Vaca's journey
  • Reséndez, Andrés. A Land So Strange: The Epic Journey of Cabeza de Vaca, Basic Books, Perseus, 2007. ISBN 0-465-06840-5
  • Schneider, Paul. Brutal Journey, Cabeza de Vaca and the Epic First Crossing of North America, New York: Henry Holt, 2007. ISBN 0-8050-8320-0
  • Udall, Stewart L. Majestic Journey: Coronado's Inland Empire, Museum of New Mexico Press, 1995. ISBN 0-89013-285-2
  • Varnum, Robin. Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca: American Trailblazer. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 2014.
  • Wild, Peter (1991). Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca. Boise, ID: Boise State University, 1991. ISBN 978-0884301004 OCLC 24515951, 656314379 (print and on-line)



See also


  1. ^ a b "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. ^ a b c "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. ^ a b c d "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. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Alvar Nunez Cabeza De Vaca." The Mariners' Museum | EXPLORATION through the AGES. Web. 5 Dec. 2014. <http://ageofex.marinersmuseum.org/index.php?type=explorer&id=67 Archived 2014-12-11 at the Wayback Machine>
  8. ^ Reséndez, Andrés (Fall 2008). "A Desperate Trek Across America". American Heritage. Vol. 58 no. 5. American Heritage Publishing. Retrieved 2010-07-26.
  9. ^ a b c d "Alvar Nuñez Cabeza De Vaca." PBS. PBS. Web. 5 Dec. 2014. https://www.pbs.org/weta/thewest/people/a_c/cabezadevaca.htm
  10. ^ Chipman, Donald E. "Malhado Island". TSHA Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association.
  11. ^ a b c d e f "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. ^ a b Encyclopædia Britannica Online Academic Edition
  15. ^ a b c d e 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. ^ a b "Background on The Journey of Alvar Nuסez Cabeza de Vaca", American Journeys]
  17. ^ a b c d 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.

External links

La Relación online




Preceded by
Domingo Martínez de Irala
Governor of New Andalusia
Succeeded by
Domingo Martínez de Irala
Adai people

Adai (also Adaizan, Adaizi, Adaise, Adahi, Adaes, Adees, Atayos) is the name of a Native American people of northwestern Louisiana and northeastern Texas with a Southeastern culture. The name Adai is derived from the Caddo word hadai meaning 'brushwood'.The Adai were among the first peoples in North America to experience European contact and were profoundly affected. In 1530, Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca wrote of them using the name Atayos. The Adai subsequently moved away from their homeland. By 1820, there were only 30 persons remaining. Their extinct language was possibly Caddoan, but Adai remains unclassified because of a lack of attestation.

Alonso de Solís

Alonso de Solís (? - 1576) 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.

Solís joined the Castilian army in his youth, where he excelled and he reached the rank of official. In June 17, 1527, he participated, together with six hundred other men (among them Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca), in the Narváez expedition, led by Pánfilo de Narváez, to conquer the provinces located between Rio de Palmas and Cape Florida. He served in the expedition as royal inspector of mines. Apparently, in 1574 De Solis and the governor of Florida Diego de Velasco took several fathoms of money to the Amerindians of Florida, who had a value equal to two ducats each, and also two canoes of the natives, without giving them any compensation.Solís was appointment governor of Florida in April 1576, being killed in July 4 this year.

Alonso del Castillo Maldonado

Alonso del Castillo Maldonado (died c. 1540) 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

Andrés Dorantes de Carranza (ca. 1500 – 1550), 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.

Anton Roberto

Anton Roberto (c.1521-1590s) was a Spanish conquistador who served as the alguacil of Asunción. He arrived from Spain in the expedition of Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca.


Araquari is a municipality in the state of Santa Catarina in the South region of Brazil.The municipality of Araquari was basically colonized by Azorean immigrants, who arrived at the coast of Santa Catarina between 1748 and 1756, and since then, the Azorean culture rooted up and walked hand in hand with the most diverse cultures, as with the Indigenous peoples in Brazil and Africans, both important in this region thus creating a cultural and religious mosaic.

Like many coastal cities Araquari has its founding myth linked to the European occupation process in America, in the first phase of the age of discoveries. According to information from the municipal Department of Culture the European foundation of Araquari is set 40 years after the discovery of Brazil in 1500.

The Spanish navigator Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca landed what is now Barra Velha and encouraged the exploration of the northern region, until then inhabited by Indios. The expedition consisted of 250 men, 40 horses, some slaves and indoctrinated group of Indios by the Jesuits. A month later, they came what they called first Paranaguá Mirim, ("small cove") in Tupi-Guarani.

In 1658, the first Portuguese pioneers settled in the region inhabited by Carijós, but the actual foundation of the town only happened in 1848, when a Portuguese ship arrived in Paraty under the command of Manuel Vieira de Albuquerque Touvar, who founded a small colony. Another pioneer Joaquim da Rocha Coutinho joined him and the two decided to found a village, but failed to reach an agreement on the site.

The Judge of the District of São Francisco ruled in favor of Rocha Coutinho who built homes on the banks of the river Parati, surrounding pastures and crops. Both are considered to be the founders of the parish Senhor Bom Jesus do Paraty (Good Lord Jesus of Paraty) in 1854, but still part of the municipality of São Francisco do Sul.

Arcadia, Santa Fe, Texas

Arcadia was an unincorporated area in Galveston County, Texas, United States, which is now a neighborhood of the city of Santa Fe. It sits at an elevation of 30 feet (9 m).

Arcadia was established around 1889 near Hall's Bayou on the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway. It was named after Arcadia, Louisiana. Henry Runge plated the town in 1890 as Hall's Station on Stephen F. Austin's fourth land grant. The Coaque people were native to the area, which was later explored by Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca. The town became a part of Santa Fe, Texas, in the 1980s.

Cabeza de Vaca (film)

Cabeza de Vaca is a 1991 Mexican film about the adventures of Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca (c. 1490 – c. 1557), 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.

Directed by Nicolás Echevarría and starring Juan Diego, the film

was entered into the 41st Berlin International Film Festival. The film was selected as the Mexican entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 63rd Academy Awards, but was not accepted as a nominee.A DVD version was released in 2012.

Chumuckla, Florida

Chumuckla is a census-designated place in Santa Rosa County, Florida, United States. The town was once centered at "Coon Hill" near the Springs, but is now centered east of the school at county road 197. It is a farming community that more recently is attracting a population boom among people seeking a measure of relief from the urban environment of Pensacola.

The population of Chumuckla was 850 in 2010.NOTES:

Chumuckla, in the recent past decades was known for its elaborate Redneck Christmas Festival and Parade until it was cancelled for 2014 due to excessively rowdy behavior.THINGS TO RESEARCH -- "Creek Indians of Santa Rosa County Muscogee" "DeSoto" "

Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca" "Panton, Leslie & Company" "War of 1812 Gulf Coast" "Thomas Creek Archeological District Chumuckla is located at 30°46′35″N 87°14′14″W.

Domingo Martínez de Irala

Domingo Martínez de Irala (Spanish pronunciation: [doˈmĩnɣo maɾˈtineθ ðe iˈɾala]; c. 1509 Bergara, Gipuzkoa – c. 1556 Asunción, Paraguay) was a Spanish Basque conquistador.

He headed for America in 1535 enrolled in the expedition of Pedro de Mendoza and participated in the founding of Buenos Aires. He explored the Paraná and Paraguay Rivers along with Juan de Ayolas and was commanding the rear-guard when Ayolas's advance party were wiped out by the Payagua Indians.

Unique in Spanish America, the colony had been granted by Charles V the right to elect its own commander under such circumstances; and in August 1538, de Irala was elected by the conquistadors as Captain General of the Río de la Plata.

In 1539, he began to move the inhabitants of Buenos Aires to Asunción, and the city was abandoned by 1541.

He outlasted the Charles V's appointment, Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, whom he had recalled to Spain for trial as a traitor. Although Juan de Sanabria and his son Diego were appointed governor in 1547 and 1549, they never fulfilled their commissions, and de Irala was confirmed by the king as governor in 1552.

He ruled forcefully until his death around 1556. During his rule, he had churches and public buildings erected, towns established, and the native population subjugated and distributed among the colonists in encomiendas. He was succeeded by Gonzalo de Mendoza.


Estevanico (c. 1500–1539) ("Little Esteban") was one of the first native Africans to reach the present-day continental United States. He is known as Esteban de Dorantes, Estebanico, and Esteban the Moor, or Mustafa Azemmouri. Enslaved as a youth by the ruling Portuguese, he was sold to a Spanish nobleman and taken in 1527 on the Spanish Narváez expedition to establish a colony in Florida. He was one of four survivors among 300 men who explored the peninsula. By late 1528 the group had been reduced to 80 men, who survived being washed ashore at Galveston Island after an effort to sail homemade crafts across the Gulf of Mexico.

For eight years, he traveled with Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, Andrés Dorantes de Carranza, and Alonso del Castillo Maldonado across northern New Spain (present-day U.S. Southwest and northern Mexico). They finally reached Spanish forces in Mexico City in 1536.

Later Estevanico served as the main guide for a return expedition to the Southwest. Spaniards believe that he was killed in the Zuni city of Hawikuh in 1539. That is speculative, as the two Indians who reported back to Friar Marcos de Niza did not see him killed but only assumed he had been killed. Estevanico was the first non-Native to visit Pueblo lands.

Everyday Robots (song)

"Everyday Robots" is a song by Damon Albarn, from his solo debut album, Everyday Robots. It was released as a single in digital and limited edition 7" vinyl formats on 3 March 2014, via Warner Bros. Records in the US. Moreover, the album's title track was released with a non-album B-side called "Electric Fences". The song also contains samples of 1940-1950s comic performer Lord Buckley's hipsemantic rant about Spanish explorer Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca.A music video for the song was released on 20 January 2014.

James A. Michener's Texas

James A. Michener's Texas (also called Texas) is a 1994 ABC television miniseries directed by Richard Lang and starring Patrick Duffy as Stephen F. Austin, Stacy Keach as Sam Houston, Chelsea Field as Maddie Quimper, Rick Schroder as Otto McNab, Grant Show as William B. Travis, David Keith as James Bowie, John Schneider as Davy Crockett, María Conchita Alonso as Lucia, and Benjamin Bratt as Benito Garza. The film is narrated by Charlton Heston. Aaron Spelling was the executive producer.

Adapted from the historical fiction novel Texas by James A. Michener, it includes only the section of the book related to Texas Independence and the Battle of San Jacinto. The novel is more wide ranging, starting with Spanish explorer Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca and ends in the modern day.

Although produced for television, Texas was released on home video first. This decision was not due to its quality, but to recoup its $12 million production cost feasibly as broadcast networks had shied away from expensive productions.

Mateo Gil (conquistador)

Mateo Gil (c.1540-1590s) was a Spanish conquistador, who served as alcalde and regidor of Santa Fe, Argentina

during the Viceroyalty of Peru.Born in Jaraicejo, Gil had arrived at Río de la Plata in the expedition of Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca. In 1573, he participated in the delegation led by Juan de Garay in Santa Fe, being part of the founding of the city.Mateo Gil also participated in the wars against the Indians charruas, he is remembered for his extreme cruelty.

Pánfilo de Narváez

Pánfilo de Narváez (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈpaɱfilo ðe naɾˈβae̯θ]; 147?–1528) 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.

He is most remembered as the leader of two failed expeditions: In 1520 he was sent to Mexico by the Governor of Cuba Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar, with the objective of stopping the invasion by Hernán Cortés which had not been authorized by the Governor. Even though his 900 men outmanned those of Cortés 3 to 1, Narváez was outmaneuvered, lost an eye and was taken prisoner. After a couple of years in captivity in Mexico he returned to Spain where King Carlos V named him adelantado, with the mission of exploring and colonizing Florida. In 1527 Narváez embarked for Florida with five ships and 600 men, among them Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca who later described the expedition in his Naufragios. A storm south of Cuba wrecked several of the ships. The rest of the expedition continued on to Florida, where the men were eventually stranded among hostile natives. The survivors worked their way along the US gulf coast trying to get to the province of Pánuco. During a storm Narváez and a small group of men were carried out to sea on a raft and were not seen again. Only four men survived the Narváez expedition.

Sierra de la Plata

The Sierra de la Plata ("Silver Mountains") 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.

The Río de la Plata (literally "Silver River") and the modern country of Argentina (from the Latin argentum, "silver") both take their names from the myth. The legend of the Sierra de la Plata may have been based on the Cerro Rico de Potosí in Bolivia, which was discovered by a Spanish expedition traveling from Peru in 1545.

Texas (novel)

Texas (1985) is a novel by American writer James A. Michener

(1907-1997), based on the history of the Lone Star State. Characters include real and fictional characters spanning hundreds of years, such as explorers (particularly Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca), Spanish colonists, American immigrants, German Texan settlers, ranchers, oil men, aristocrats, Chicanos, and others, all based on extensive historical research. At 1,076 pages, it was the longest Michener novel published by Random House. Given the success of his previous novels, the company did a first printing of 750,000 copies, 'the largest in the company's history.'

Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca (sculpture)

Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca is an outdoor sculpture of the Spanish explorer of the same name by Pilar Cortella de Rubin, installed at Hermann Park's McGovern Centennial Gardens in Houston, Texas, in the United States. The bronze bust rests on a granite pedestal and was acquired by the City of Houston in 1986.

Ancestors of Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca
16. Gonzalo Gómez de Mendoza
8. Diego Gómez de Mendoza
17. Juana Fernández de Orozco
4. Pedro de Vera y Mendoza Salazar
18. García de Vera
9. María de Vera y de Vargas
19. Aldonza de Vargas
2. Francisco de Vera y de Hinojosa
5. Beatriz de Hinojosa
1. Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca
24. Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca
12. Fernán Ruíz Cabeza de Vaca
25. Teresa Vázquez de Meira
6. Pedro Fernández Cabeza de Vaca
13. Beatriz González de Medina
3. Teresa Cabeza de Vaca y de Zurita
28. Fernando Alfonso de Zurita y Natera
14. Diego Fernández de Zurita y Colsantos
7. Catalina de Zurita y Suárez de Moscoso
15. Mencia Suárez de Moscoso

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