Book Cover of The Journey of Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca

The Journey of Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca

by Alvar Cabeza de Vaca

Cabeza de Vaca, along with three other survivors, two Spaniards and a North African (Estévanico, a black slave) endured incredible hardships. Cabeza da Vaca was, himself, at first enslaved by the Indians, forced to dig roots with his bare hands for food. However, he soon showed powers of adaptation that allowed him to survive. He became a trader, bartering “seashells and cockles” from the coast for hides, red ochre, flint, and deer hair tassels from the inland tribes. “Trade suited me well,” he writes, “because it gave me liberty to go where I pleased.” The Indians “rejoiced greatly when seeing me and I would bring them what they needed, and those who did not know me would desire and endeavor to meet me for sake of my fame.” Cabeza de Vaca’s “fame” soon grew to include a reputation as a healer. In return for his “cures,” the Indians gave him “all that they had,” which included food, often in perilously short supply.

Book Details

Language

English

Original Language

Spanish

Published In

1542

Author

Alvar Cabeza de Vaca  image

Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca was a Spanish explorer of the New World, and one of four survivors of the 1527 Narváez expedition. During eight years of traveling across what is...

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