Their journey went well until the two men confronted Matagorda Bay. There they encountered an Indian tribe, which Cabeza de Vaca called the Quevenes, who threatened to kill them by placing arrows over their hearts.
They landed finally at a place they named the Island of Misfortune, perhaps Galveston Island, Texas. From 1529 to 1534, Cabeza de Vaca and these others lived a meagre life with the Karankawa Indians, in a state of semi-slavery and often separated from each other.
He lived for several years among Texas Indians, learning the tribes’ languages and customs. In time, he reunited with three other survivors of the original expedition. The travelers gained a reputation as healers, and their fame spread as they slowly made their way to Mexico.
The men reached a group of Indians Cabeza de Vaca called the “ Avavares. ” The Avavares treated them well.
They were enslaved by Indians at first, but Cabeza de Vaca eventually became a trader and healer, which gained him some freedom. Moreover, as a healer he wielded power and influence over the Indians. However, the accuracy of Cabeza de Vaca’s almost supernatural healing powers have to be questioned.
Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, (born c. 1490, Extremadura, Castile [now in Spain]—died c. 1560, Sevilla, Spain), Spanish explorer who spent eight years in the Gulf region of present-day Texas. Núñez was treasurer to the Spanish expedition under Pánfilo de Narváez that reached what is now Tampa Bay, Florida, in 1528.
What happened to Cabeza de Vaca’s men when they tried to leave Galveston Island? the second time, a wave covered the barge causing it to sink. Three of their number drowned and the rest were left cold and naked. Another wave tossed these naked men back onto the shore of Galveston Island half drowned.
In the eight years they spent in Texas, Cabeza de Vaca and his companions failed to discover any gold or claim any new territory for Spain. Instead, they returned with tales they heard from American Indians of riches elsewhere in North America.
Synopsis. Explorer Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca was born 1490, in Extremadura, Castile, Spain. He was treasurer to the Spanish expedition under Pánfilo de Narváez that reached what is now Tampa Bay, Florida, in 1528. By September all but his party of 60 had perished; it reached the shore near present-day Galveston, Texas
His account is the earliest description of the American Southwest. Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca was born into a distinguished family in Jerez de la Frontera. His strange name, literally ” head of a cow,” was won by a maternal ancestor, Martin Alhaja, who showed King Sancho of Navarre a pass marked with a cow’s skull.
Map of the Spanish explorer Cabeza de Vaca’s journey through Texas, along the coast, up to San Angelo, along the Rio Grande, and finally down into Mexico. An area in south Texas is circled in red and labeled “Tuna Area.”
Cabeza de Vaca observed that native peoples used the dense thorny scrub brush as a defensive ploy against enemies, building huts for the women and children in the center of the thickets and lighting fires inside them at night.
The Spanish conquistador Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca is shipwrecked on a low sandy island off the coast of Texas. Starving, dehydrated, and desperate, he is the first European to set foot on the soil of the future Lone Star state.