Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-vi

Acknowledgements

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pp. vii-viii

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Introduction

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pp. ix-x

CABEZA DE VACA’S mode of transportation, afoot on portions of two continents in the early decades of the sixteenth century, fits one dictionary definition of the word “pedestrian.” By no means, however, should the related meanings of “commonplace” or “prosaic” be applied to the man or his remarkable adventures. Between 1528 and 1536, he...

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Chapter 1

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pp. 1-10

BY HIS NAME ALONE, Cabeza de Vaca (Cow’s Head) stirs interest among readers of all ages. The oft-repeated explanation of his surname’s origin, dating from the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212 during the Spanish Reconquest (c. 720–1492), started with accounts of a mythical ancestor of Cabeza de Vaca, a shepherd named Martín de Alhaja, who...

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Chapter 2

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pp. 11-20

NARVÁEZ AND HIS COMPANY of three hundred men apparently landed just south of Tampa Bay. Unfortunately, during the long and storm-tossed voyage from Cuba, about half of the eighty horses had died or suffered broken legs and were thrown overboard. The men were advantaged by arriving on shore in rowboats, whereas the weakened horses...

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Chapter 3

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pp. 21-28

THE HISTORY OF TEXAS, as recorded by a European observer, begins with the recollections of Cabeza de Vaca on November 6, 1528. On this date, the raft bearing him and perhaps forty-five others “shipwrecked,” to don Álvar’s way of thinking, on an island off the Texas coast. Cabeza de Vaca entitled his Relación (Account) Naufragios (Shipwrecks), first...

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Chapter 4

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pp. 29-37

CABEZA DE VACA, Alonso del Castillo, Andrés Dorantes, and Estevanico, often referred to as the Four Ragged Castaways, would spend approximately thirty more months in the future Lone Star State (early autumn 1532 to the first months of 1535) before crossing the Río Grande into Mexico. During twenty of those months, the men would be enslaved...

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Chapter 5

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pp. 38-47

DURING THE MONTHS AHEAD for the Castaways, their specialty among Indians lay in possessing seemingly remarkable curative powers, which has sparked interesting conjecture. How could their ministrations, which began by praying over the ill or wounded, followed by making the sign of the cross and concluded by blowing on afflicted parts of a...

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Chapter 6

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pp. 48-57

ONCE THE CASTAWAYS and the entourage of free Indians were reunited, the three Spaniards were safe among their countrymen. Their concern, however, lay with Indian friends, who perhaps numbered more than a thousand. All did their best to secure the natives’ well-being, having helped deliver them into the hands of slave-hunting adherents of Governor...

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Afterword

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pp. 58-60

THE REMARKABLE TRAVELS of Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca in North and South America require no analysis. They are simply amazing in themselves. He was one of only four to survive the disastrous Pánfilo de Narváez overland expedition to Florida and beyond. Don Álvar and three companions then trekked some 2,800 miles on bare feet from the...

Notes

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pp. 61-66

Index

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pp. 67-71