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Alvarez Nunez Cabeza de Vaca

Alvarez Nunez Cabeza de Vaca

Facts about Alvarez Nunez Cabeza de Vaca

Biography Summary: Alvarez Nunez Cabeza de Vaca (1490 - 1560) was famous for exploring the Americas and in the many years he was effectively trapped there, he got to know the people, the customs and their ways, each tribe individually.

He became a trusted healer and spread the word of Christianity and God. He also made a living as a trader and this gave him access to different tribes and allowed him to study them closely and in their own environments.

When he managed to return home he wrote to the King of his experiences and attempted to educate him on the indigenous people of the new land. He sadly died a poor man in his home in Seville.

Alvarez Nunez Cabeza de Vaca Fact Sheet: Who was Alvarez Nunez Cabeza de Vaca? The following short biography and fact sheet provides interesting facts about the life, times and history of Alvarez Nunez Cabeza de Vaca.

Alvarez Nunez Cabeza de Vaca Fact File Biography: Lifespan: 1490 - 1560 *** Full Name: Alvarez Nunez Cabeza de Vaca *** Occupation: Spanish Explorer *** Date of Birth: Alvarez Nunez Cabeza de Vaca was born in 1490 *** Place of Birth: Alvarez Nunez Cabeza de Vaca was born in Jerez de la Fontera, Cádiz, Spain *** Family background: His father was Francisco Nunez de Vera and his mother was Teresa Cabeza de Vaca y de Zurita. The family were of minor nobility. It is said that he had an ancestor on his mother’s side of the family that he helped the Spanish King by showing him a secret passage that gave him the advantage over the Muslim Moors in 1212 Battle of Lady Arbella Stuart Navas de Tolosa *** Early life and childhood: He grew up with his paternal grandfather after his parents death and by the time he reached his teens, as was common, he was placed with a family of nobility *** Education: Alvarez Nunez Cabeza de Vaca would have received an education befitting his station ***

Alvarez Nunez Cabeza de Vaca Fact 1: Alvarez Nunez Cabeza de Vaca was born in 1490 and during the late 15th century period in history when which is described as the late middle ages to early Renaissance and early modern period and when Portugal and Spain were exploring the oceans of the world and colonizing new lands.

Alvarez Nunez Cabeza de Vaca Fact 2: He would take part in the Canary Islands conquest and would be appointed as governor.

Alvarez Nunez Cabeza de Vaca Fact 3: He would enlist in the Spanish army in 1511 and served in Spain, Italy and Navarre and would be the recipient of several medals.

Alvarez Nunez Cabeza de Vaca Fact 4: He joined the Florida expedition in 1527 of the conquistador Panfilo de Narvaez and he would serve as Marshall and treasurer.

Alvarez Nunez Cabeza de Vaca Fact 5: During this expedition he also served in a military role as one of the chief officers.

Alvarez Nunez Cabeza de Vaca Fact 6: When the ships dropped anchor to resupply in Hispaniola around one hundred and fifty of his men decided to remain there and not continue.

Alvarez Nunez Cabeza de Vaca Fact 7: The expedition travelled on to Cuba where Cabeza de Vaca together with two of the ships from the expedition in an attempt to recruit and replace his lost men. However the ships were destroyed during a hurricane with a large loss of life. The remaining vessels arrived within a few days to rescue the remaining survivors.

Alvarez Nunez Cabeza de Vaca Fact 8: The expedition finally reached Florida in April where they anchored near Jungle Prada Site.

Alvarez Nunez Cabeza de Vaca Fact 9: Having communicated with the local people they would hear of a city called Apalachen which was overflowing with food and gold. Cabeza de Vaca spoke against trying to find the city but Narvaez wanted to go and so split the men.

Alvarez Nunez Cabeza de Vaca Fact 10: Those that headed for the gold and riches would find disappointment, Apalachen had only corn but again the Spaniards were encouraged to travel further into the interior to another village to seek riches, Aute was around seven to nine days further into the interior and they were told was very rich. They continued further only to see the village had been burned and the inhabitants long gone. The only thing golden remaining where the fields of corn which they used for food before returning to the other party of men at Panuco.

Alvarez Nunez Cabeza de Vaca Fact 11: Being very short of food they began to slaughter and consume their horses, utilizing any metal materials to fashion tools and nails to build primitive small boats in an attempt to reach Mexico.

Alvarez Nunez Cabeza de Vaca Fact 12: Gradually the numbers of men dwindled. Of the five boats made, each holding approximately fifty men they set out for Mexico but as the arrived at the Mississippi River the current carried the boats out to sea where they encountered another hurricane and several more boats were lost. The remaining boats washed up on what is now a part of Texas and of eighty men only around fifteen survived the winter.

Alvarez Nunez Cabeza de Vaca Fact 13: Eventually they would be captured by local native Americans and because the majority of the surviving Spanish men were of noble birth and not used to doing menial tasks considered themselves as slaves but it may not have been the case. Unable to use them as warriors to hunt they were put to tasks that the women usually performed.

Alvarez Nunez Cabeza de Vaca Fact 14: Eventually Cabeza de Vaca and three others, Andres Dorantes de Carranza, Alonso del Castillo Maldonado and Esteban, an enslaved Moroccan Berber, escaped but in the eight years they roamed and explored the region and getting to know the indigenous people he developed quite strong sympathies for them. During their journey he acted as a healer and trader and eventually they made their return to Mexico.

Alvarez Nunez Cabeza de Vaca Fact 15: He wrote to King Charles V “transmit what I saw and heard in the nine years I wandered lost and miserable over many remote lands”.[14] 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”.

Alvarez Nunez Cabeza de Vaca Fact 16: He travelled back to America in 1540 in hopes of finding the gold and silver mines of Peru as well as finding a passage between colonized parts of Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina and the colony in Peru.

Alvarez Nunez Cabeza de Vaca Fact 17: Alvarez Nunez Cabeza de Vaca died in approximately 1558 in Seville where his body was laid to rest.

Influence & Legacy: He wanted to educate the world on what the indigenous people of America were really like not just the habitat, their customs and ways.

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