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Castaways

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Castaways (or Naufragios) is the first major narrative of the exploration of North America by Europeans (1528-1536). It is also an enthralling story of adventure and survival against unimaginable odds. Its author, Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca, a fortune-seeking sixteenth-century Spanish nobleman, was the treasurer of an expedition to claim for the Spanish Crown a vast area that includes today's Florida, Louisiana, and Texas. A shipwreck forced him and a handful of men to make the long journey to the West coast, ...
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Overview

Castaways (or Naufragios) is the first major narrative of the exploration of North America by Europeans (1528-1536). It is also an enthralling story of adventure and survival against unimaginable odds. Its author, Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca, a fortune-seeking sixteenth-century Spanish nobleman, was the treasurer of an expedition to claim for the Spanish Crown a vast area that includes today's Florida, Louisiana, and Texas. A shipwreck forced him and a handful of men to make the long journey to the West coast, where they would meet up with Hernan Cortes, on foot. They endured unspeakable hardships, some of them surviving only by eating the dead. Others, including Cabeza de Vaca joined native peoples he met along the way, learning their languages and practices, and serving them as a slave and later as a physician. When after eight years he finally reached the West, he was not recognized by his compatriots. Cabeza de Vaca displays great interest in the cultures - so alien to his own - of the native peoples he encountered on his odyssey, observing their customs and belief systems with a degree of sophistication and sensitivity unusual in the conquistador. As he forged intimate bonds with some of them, sharing their brutal living conditions and curing their sick, he found himself on a voyage of self-discovery that was to make his reunion with his fellow Spaniards less joyful than expected. Cabeza de Vaca's narrative is a marvelously gripping story, but it is also much more. It is a first-hand account of sixteenth-century Spanish colonization, of the encounter between the conquistador and the Native American, of the aspirations and fears of exploration. It is a trove of ethnographic information, its descriptions and interpretations of native peoples' cultures making it a powerful precursor to modern anthropology. And it is a masterpiece of exploration writing, its author keenly aware of the fictive thrust that often energizes the writing of history.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Enrique Pupo-Walker is Centennial Professor of Spanish and Portuguese at Vanderbilt University. His edition of Naufragios was published in Spain in 1992. Frances M. López-Morillas is an award-winning translator living in Austin, Texas.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Editor's Foreword
Acknowledgments
Introduction
Prologue 3
I Which Recounts When the Fleet Sailed, and the Officers and Men Who Went in It 5
II How the Governor Arrived at the Port of Jagua and Brought a Pilot with Him 10
III How We Reached Florida 11
IV How We Marched Inland 13
V How the Governor Left the Ships 17
VI How We Reached Apalachee 21
VII Of the Manner of the Land 22
VIII How We Departed from Aute 27
IX How We Departed from the Bay of Horses 31
X Of the Fight We Had with the Indians 35
XI Of What Befell Lope de Oviedo with Some Indians 39
XII How the Indians Brought Us Food 41
XIII How We Had News of Other Christians 44
XIV How Four Christians Departed 46
XV What Befell Us in the Isle of Ill Fortune 49
XVI How the Christians Departed from the Isle of Ill Fortune 51
XVII How the Indians Came and Brought Andres Dorantes and Castillo and Estebanico 55
XVIII Of the Report Given to Figueroa by Esquivel 59
XIX How the Indians Separated Us 64
XX How We Escaped 66
XXI How We Cured Some Sufferers There 68
XXII How They Brought Us More Sick Folk Next Day 71
XXIII How We Departed after Eating the Dogs 77
XXIV Of the Customs of the Indians of That Land 79
XXV Of the Indians' Readiness to Use Arms 82
XXVI Of the Tribes and Their Languages 84
XXVII How We Moved and Were Well Received 86
XXIII Of Another New Custom 89
XXIX How Some Indians Robbed the Others 92
XXX How the Custom of Receiving Us Changed 97
XXXI How We Followed the Maize Road 103
XXXII How They Gave Us Hearts of Deer 106
XXXIII How We Saw Traces of Christians 110
XXXIV How I Sent for the Christians 112
XXXV How the Mayor Received Us Well on the Night We Arrived 116
XXXVI How We Caused Churches to Be Built in That Land 119
XXXVII Of What Befell When I Decided to Return 121
XXXVIII What Befell the Others Who Went to the Indies 125
Appendix A: Note on the Text 129
Appendix B: The American Cultures Described in Cabeza de Vaca's Naufragios 133
Notes 139
Select Bibliography 147
Index 151
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