A Land So Strange: The Epic Journey of Cabeza de Vaca by Andrés Reséndez

By Andrés Reséndez

In 1528, a project set out from Spain to colonize Florida. however the day trip went horribly mistaken: behind schedule through a typhoon, knocked off beam through a great blunders of navigation, and finally doomed by way of a disastrous selection to split the boys from their ships, the challenge quick turned a determined trip of survival. Of the 400 males who had launched into the voyage, purely 4 survived - 3 Spaniards and an African slave. This tiny band continued a bad march via Florida, a harrowing raft passage around the Louisiana coast, and years of enslavement within the American Southwest. They journeyed for nearly ten years looking for the Pacific Ocean that might consultant them domestic, they usually have been without end replaced by way of their event. the lads lived with various nomadic Indians and realized a number of indigenous languages. They observed lands, peoples, vegetation, and animals that no outsider had ever sooner than obvious. during this enchanting story of 4 castaways wandering in an unknown land, Andrés Reséndez brings to lifestyles the massive, dynamic international of North the United States quite a few years ahead of ecu settlers could rework it ceaselessly.

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With Velázquez beckoning to him, Cortés got on a small boat and rowed within earshot. Velázquez reportedly shouted to him: “Why, compadre, are you going so? qxd 9/11/07 10:01 AM Page 17 THE PRIZE THAT WAS SNATCHED AWAY It was not an auspicious beginning to the expedition. Velázquez, the great leader of Cuba, the astute administrator who still claimed powerful backers at all levels of the imperial bureaucracy, would seek his revenge. He would eventually launch a fourth armada, larger and better supplied than the previous three, to extend his authority over the mainland and bring back the outlaw Cortés—in chains, if necessary.

Captains went to great lengths to recruit individuals who possessed a variety of skills that would make the group self-sufficient and more likely to survive in the harsh environment of the New World. The Florida expedition was hardly an exceptional venture. 13 Th e h i g h e s t - r a n k i n g members of the Florida expedition, rivaling even Narváez, were a handful of royal appointees destined to become the new aristocracy of Florida. Royal Treasurer Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca and Captains Alonso del Castillo and Andrés Dorantes—three out of the four main protagonists in the story—were part of this exalted group.

40 He did. Cortés’s forces closed in on Cempoallan so rapidly that Narváez’s artillery, already compromised by bribes and secret agreements, was able to inflict only minimal damage. As the rain let up and the moon and the fireflies appeared, one of Cortés’s detachments surrounded the base of the pyramid where Narváez had set up his command. 41 The fight intensified as Cortés’s men reached the top steps and approached a shrine of wood and thatch from which Narváez and some thirty men had been firing guns and arrows.

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