Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca
A factor in the notorious Narváez expedition, he was one of four survivors of shipwreck in the Gulf of Mexico, and later enslaved by a native tribe of the upper Gulf coast.
During his travels Vaca developed sympathies for the indigenous population unusual among the conquistadors. Eventually, after reaching New Spain, he went on to Mexico City and soon returned to Europe, where he wrote about his experiences in a work called La relación (the tale). A major motivation for the 1542 publication of this work was Cabeza de Vaca's desire to succeed Narváez as governor of Florida.
Instead, in 1540 he was appointed governor of La Plata, in what is now Argentina and surroundings. Political intrigue against him caused his arrest and return to Spain in chains, circa 1545. He was eventually exonerated and wrote another book, Comentarios (commentary) about this experience.
- Cabeza de Vaca The Journey of Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca
- PBS website for Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca
- Cabeza de Vaca's Journey to the Southwest
- Cabeza de Vaca's La Relación contains hi-res photography of the 1555 edition of la Relación.
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