Cabeza De Vaca
Cabeza de Vaca was an explorer who was born in Jerez de la Fronteria into a family that took the title, Cabeza de Vaca, head of a cow, from his mothers side of the family. In 1212 one of her ancestors- a shepherd named Martin Alhaja- had helped the Spanish Christians win an important battle against the Moors in by marking a unguarded mountain pass with a cow’s skull. The Christians attacked, scoring a major victory, and Alhaja and his desendets were honored by the name Cabeza de Vaca. In 1527 he was appointed the treasure of a royal expedition led by Panfilo de Narvaez of about of about 300 me to Florida. In April 1528 the expedition sailed into Tampa Bay, he began an over march into Apalanche Bay, and then attempted to reach Mexico in makeshift boats. Seperated from Narveaz, Cabeza de Vaca led a small group of survivors of the expeditions Dorantes, Castillo, and Esteban. The Moor escaped and began a journey which are now Southwestern United States and Northern Mexico, in 1537 Cabeza de Vaca returned to Spain rewarded with the honor to be governor of Rio de la Plata (now Paraguay). His account of the Naraveaz expedition Relicon and his tales of Zuni and their villages the legendary Seven cities of Cibola, encouraged many other expeditions to America including Hernando de Soto and Franciso Vasquez de Coronado.
For Historians, Cabeza de Vaca’s importance came from his having been the first European to travel into Southwest and to write reports that spurred explorations of the region.
His reports were about his tribal experiences with the Karankawas, Caddoes, Atakapans, Jumanoes, and Conchoes, Pincas, Optans, and the loose band of hunters- formally known as the Coalitecans.