Conquistador is a term used to refer to the knights and explorers of the Spanish Empire and the Portuguese Empire. During the Age of Discovery, conquistadors sailed beyond Europe to the Americas, Oceania and Asia, conquering territory and opening trade routes, they colonized much of the world for Spain and Portugal in the 16th, 17th, 18th centuries. After Columbus's discovery of the West Indies in 1492, the Spanish conquistadors, who were poor nobles from the impoverished west and south of Spain, began building up an American empire in the Caribbean, using islands such as Cuba, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola as bases. Florida fell to Juan Ponce de León after 1513. From 1519 to 1521, Hernán Cortés waged a campaign against the Aztec Empire, ruled by Moctezuma II. From the territories of the Aztec Empire conquistadors expanded Spanish rule to northern Central America and parts of what is now southern and western United States. Other conquistadors took over the Inca Empire after crossing the Isthmus of Panama and sailing the Pacific to northern Peru.
As Francisco Pizarro subdued the empire in a manner similar to Cortés other conquistadores used Peru as base for conquering much of Ecuador and Chile. In Colombia and Argentina conquistadors from Peru linked up with other conquistadors arriving more directly from the Caribbean and Río de la Plata-Paraguay respectively. Conquistadors founded numerous cities many of them on locations with pre-existing pre-colonial settlements including the capitals of most Latin American countries. Besides conquests, Spanish conquistadors made significant explorations into the Amazon Jungle, the interior of North America, the Pacific Ocean. Portugal established a route to China in the early 16th century, sending ships via the southern coast of Africa and founding numerous coastal enclaves along the route. Following the discovery in 1492 by Spaniards of the New World with Christopher Columbus's first voyage there and the first circumnavigation of the world by Ferdinand Magellan and Juan Sebastián Elcano in 1521, expeditions led by conquistadors in the 16th century established trading routes linking Europe with all these areas.
Human infections gained worldwide transmission vectors for the first time: from Africa and Eurasia to the Americas and vice versa. The spread of old-world diseases, including smallpox and typhus, led to the deaths of many indigenous inhabitants of the New World. In the 16th century 240,000 Europeans entered American ports. By the late 16th century gold and silver imports from America provided one-fifth of Spain's total budget; the conquistadors were professional warriors, using European tactics and cavalry. Their units would specialize in forms of combat that required long periods of training that were too costly for informal groups, their armies were composed of Iberian and other European soldiers. Native allied troops were infantry equipped with armament and armour that varied geographically; some groups consisted of young men without military experience, Catholic clergy which helped with administrative duties, soldiers with military training. These native forces included African slaves and Native Americans.
They not only fought in the battlefield but served as interpreters, servants, teachers and scribes. India Catalina and Malintzin were Native American women slaves. Castilian law prohibited non-Catholics from settling in the New World. However, not all conquistadors were Castilian. Many foreigners Hispanicised their names and/or converted to Catholicism to serve the Castilian Crown. For example, Ioánnis Fokás was a Castilian of Greek origin who discovered the strait that bears his name between Vancouver Island and Washington State in 1592. German-born Nikolaus Federmann, Hispanicised as Nicolás de Federmán, was a conquistador in Venezuela and Colombia; the Venetian Sebastiano Caboto was Sebastián Caboto, Georg von Speyer Hispanicised as Jorge de la Espira, Eusebio Francesco Chini Hispanicised as Eusebio Kino, Wenceslaus Linck was Wenceslao Linck, Ferdinand Konščak, was Fernando Consag, Amerigo Vespucci was Américo Vespucio, the Portuguese Aleixo Garcia was known as Alejo García in the Castilian army.
The origin of many people in mixed expeditions was not always distinguished. Various occupations, such as sailors, fishermen and nobles employed different languages, so that crew and settlers of Iberian empires recorded as Galicians from Spain were using Portuguese, Catalan and Languedoc languages, which were wrongly identified. Castilian law banned Spanish women from travelling to America unless they were married and accompanied by a husband. Women who travelled thus include María de Escobar, María Estrada, Marina Vélez de Ortega, Marina de la Caballería, Francisca de Valenzuela, Catalina de Salazar; some conquistadors had illegitimate children. European young men enlisted in the army. Catholic priests instructed the soldiers in mathematics, theology, Latin and history, wrote letters and official documents for them. King's army officers taught military arts. An uneducated young recruit could become a military leader, elected by their fellow professional soldiers based on merit. Others were born into hidalgo families, as such they were members of the Spanish nobility with some studies but without economic resources.
Some rich nobility families' members became soldiers or missionaries, but not the fi
Trujillo is a municipality located in Extremadura, an autonomous community of Spain in the Province of Cáceres. It had 9086 inhabitants. Settled on a granite knoll, fortified, the town now extends to the South East of its original site. Trujillo is both a centre for tourism, with over 25 hotels, a regional market town; the old town contains many renaissance buildings. Many of these were enriched by the conquistadors born in the city; these include, the conquerors of Peru, Francisco Pizarro and his brothers, Francisco de Orellana and Hernando de Alarcón. Pizarro's equestrian statue stands in the Plaza Mayor; the most important monuments are the castle, the church of Santa María, the church of San Francisco. It hosts the national cheese festival in early May. Trujillo was settled on a granite batholith during Prehistoric times. In Roman times the town was known as Turgalium and became a prefecture stipendiary of the Lusitanian capital, Emerita Augusta, it was colonised by East Germanic tribes although the prevalence of the population would still have been Hispano-Roman.
With the Muslim invasion and conquest in 711, it became one of the main towns in the region, governed by the Taifa based in Madrid. This taifa was subject to the Umayyad Emirate and the subsequent Caliphate ruled until the middle of the 11th century. During this time the ethnic tensions between the Berbers and Arabs weakened the Caliphate militarily while the Reconquista gained success to the north of Extremadura in Castile. During this time the Berber Almohads took control of Trujillo and it environs. During the time of Almohad rule, wars with Portugal, León guaranteed that the possession of Trujillo was tenuous. Rule alternated between these kingdoms and the Almohads returning for the last time to the Muslims in 1187. Five centuries of Muslim occupation and control ended when an army formed by forces of the Military orders and the Bishop of Plasencia laid siege to the city of Trujillo with the support and blessing of Saint Ferdinand III. Muhammad ibn Hüd was driven off by the besieging army.
The town was captured on 25 January 1232. During the final assault, according to the local legend, the Christian forces were faltering just short of victory when many reported seeing the Virgin Mary between the two towers, or Arco del Triunfo, in the castle. Sufficiently inspired, Christian troops pressed on and achieved victory defeating the Muslims who were inside. King Juan II of Castilla gave the town the title of city in 1430, it had a Jewish quarter located outside of the powerful medieval walls. Trujillo, with the growth of the population was extended beyond the walls; some Trujillanos went to America to discover new places. When they come back, they built majestic palaces near the Plaza Mayor and surrounds, most of them can be visited today. Francisco Pizarro helped enrich his family in the Plaza Mayor, his daughter from an Incan princess returned at 18 to marry her uncle and lived the rest of her life in Trujillo as a lady of great estate. During the War for Independence, one of the first authorities that responded to the call of the Junta of Móstoles in May 1808 was the mayor of Trujillo, Antonio Martin Rivas who prepared enlistments of volunteers, with food and arms, plus the mobilization of troops, to go to the aid of the Junta.
Trujillo was captured by the French in 1811 and held until 1812. In 1834 the city became the official headquarters of the Judicial District of Trujillo. In the census of 1842 it had 6026 residents. Trujillo has type Csa, in the modified Köppen classification; as in many towns in Extremadura, Trujillo´s old buildings provide homes for a breeding population of storks. Other birds of interest include the Lesser kestrel, which nests in the bull-ring and other urban sites. Trujillo has a rich heritage. Among the most important monuments are the Castle, the church of Santiago, the church of Santa María la Mayor, the church of San Francisco, the Church of San Martín, the Plaza Mayor, renaissance palaces such as the palace of the Marquis of the Conquest, the palace of the Orellana-Pizarro family, the palace of the Duques de San Carlos, Marquesado de Piedras Albas, the house of the strong Altamirano, Palace Chaves, of course the walled old town; the Palacio de Piedras Albas was built circa 1530 by Don Pedro Suárez de Toledo owned by the Orellana Toledo family, the Marqueses de Orellana and by the Marqueses de San Juan de Piedras Albas.
It has several museums: Museum of Coria, Pizzaro's House, Enrique Elías Museum, Museum of Cheese and Wine. The culmination of Holy Week is celebrated on Easter Sunday; the town square is full of people dressed in local costumes. They sing, dance and drink to the beat of Chíviri; the following day, Easter Monday, is a holiday in the city and locals have the custom of going to the countryside for picnics. On 1 May, the National Cheese Fair takes place, the most important cheese competition in Spain; the Plaza Mayor becomes a huge fair. This festival draws a large crowd, with organizers reporting that 100,000 people attend on a yearly basis, they take place in early September. During the festival the Virgen de la Victoria is moved from her normal place in the c
Domingo Martínez de Irala
Domingo Martínez de Irala was a Spanish Basque conquistador. He headed for America in 1535 enrolled in the expedition of Pedro de Mendoza and participated in the founding of Buenos Aires, he explored the Paraná and Paraguay Rivers along with Juan de Ayolas and was commanding the rear-guard when Ayolas' advance party was wiped out by the Payagua Indians. Unique in Spanish America, the colony had been granted by Charles V the right to elect its own commander under such circumstances. In 1539, he began to move the inhabitants of Buenos Aires to Asunción, the city was abandoned by 1541, he outlasted the Charles V's appointment, Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, whom he had recalled to Spain for trial as a traitor. Although Juan de Sanabria and his son Diego were appointed governor in 1547 and 1549, they never fulfilled their commissions, de Irala was confirmed by the king as governor in 1552, he ruled forcefully until his death around 1556. During his rule, he had churches and public buildings erected, towns established, the native population subjugated and distributed among the colonists in encomiendas.
He was succeeded by Gonzalo de Mendoza. Maura, Juan Francisco Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca: El gran burlador de América Publicaciones de Parnaseo, Universidad de Valencia, Spain, in Spanish Infoplease Chisholm, Hugh, ed.. "Argentina". Encyclopædia Britannica. 2. Cambridge University Press. P. 468
The Amazon Basin is the part of South America drained by the Amazon River and its tributaries. The Amazon drainage basin covers an area of about 6,300,000 km2, or about 35.5 percent that of the South American continent. It is located in the countries of Bolivia, Colombia, Guyana, Peru and Venezuela. Most of the basin is covered by the Amazon Rainforest known as Amazonia. With a 5,500,000 km2 area of dense tropical forest, this is the largest rainforest in the world; the Amazon River begins in the Andes Mountains at the west of the basin with its main tributary the Marañón River in Peru. The highest point in the watershed of the Amazon is the peak of Yerupajá at 6,635 metres. With a length of about 6,400 km before it drains into the Atlantic Ocean, it is one of the two longest rivers in the world; the Amazon system transports the largest volume of water of any river system, accounting for about 20% of the total water carried to the oceans by rivers. Some of the Amazon rainforests are deforested because of the increasing of cattle ranches and soy beans field.
The Amazon basin flowed west to Pacific Ocean until the Andes formed, causing the basin to flow eastward towards the Atlantic Ocean. Politically the basin is divided into the Brazilian Amazônia Legal, the Peruvian Amazon, the Amazon region of Colombia and parts of Bolivia and the Venezuelan state of Amazonas. Plant growth is dense and its variety of animal inhabitants is comparatively high due to the heavy rainfall and the dense and extensive evergreen and coniferous forests. Little sunlight reaches the ground due to the dense roof canopy by plants; the ground remains dark and damp and only shade tolerant vegetation will grow here. Orchids and bromeliads exploit other plants to get closer to the sunlight, they grow hanging onto the branches or tree trunks with aerial roots, not as parasites but as epiphytes. Species of tropical trees native to the Amazon include rubber tree and Assai palm. More than 1,400 species of mammals are found in the Amazon, the majority of which are species of bats and rodents.
Its larger mammals include the jaguar, ocelot and South American tapir. About 1500 bird species inhabit the Amazon Basin; the biodiversity of the Amazon and the sheer number of diverse bird species is given by the number of different bird families that reside in these humid forests. An example of such would be the cotinga family. Birds such as toucans, hummingbirds are found here. Macaws are famous for gathering by the hundreds along the clay cliffs of the Amazon River. In the western Amazon hundreds of macaws and other parrots descend to exposed river banks to consume clay on an daily basis, the exception being rainy days; the green anaconda inhabits the shallow waters of the Amazon and the emerald tree boa and boa constrictor live in the Amazonian tree tops. Many reptiles species are illegally exported for the international pet trade. Live animals are the fourth largest commodity in the smuggling industry after drugs and weapons. More than 1,500 species of amphibians are found in the Amazon. Unlike temperate frogs which are limited to habitats near the water, tropical frogs are most abundant in the trees and few are found near bodies of water on the forest floor.
The reason for this occurrence is quite simple: frogs must always keep their skin moist since half of their respiration is carried out through their skin. The high humidity of the rainforest and frequent rainstorms gives tropical frogs infinitely more freedom to move into the trees and escape the many predators of rainforest waters; the differences between temperate and tropical frogs extend beyond their habitat. About 2,500 fish species are known from the Amazon basin and it is estimated that more than 1,000 additional undescribed species exist; this is more than any other river basin on Earth, Amazonia is the center of diversity for Neotropical fishes. About 45% of the known Amazonian fish species are endemic to the basin; the remarkable species richness can in part be explained by the large differences between the various parts of the Amazon basin, resulting in many fish species that are endemic to small regions. For example, fauna in clearwater rivers differs from fauna in white and blackwater rivers, fauna in slow moving sections show distinct differences compared to that in rapids, fauna in small streams differ from that in major rivers, fauna in shallow sections show distinct differences compared to that in deep parts.
By far the most diverse orders in the Amazon are Characiformes and Siluriformes, but other groups with many species include Cichlidae and Gymnotiformes. In addition to major differences in behavior and ecology, Amazonian fish vary extensively in form and size; the largest, the arapaima and piraiba can reach 3 m or more in length and up to 200 kg in weight, making them some of the largest strict freshwater fish in the world. The bull shark and common sawfish, which have been recorded far up the Amazon, may reach greater sizes, but they are euryhaline and seen in marine waters. In contrast to the giants, there are Amazonian fish from several families that are less than 2 cm long; the smallest are the Leptophilypnion sleeper gobies, which do not surpass 1 cm and are among the smallest fish in the world. The Amazon supports large fisheries, including well-known species of large catfish (such as Brachyplatystoma, which perform l
Mato Grosso is one of the states of Brazil, the third-largest by area, located in the western part of the country. Neighboring states are Rondônia, Pará, Goiás and Mato Grosso do Sul; the nation of Bolivia is located to the southwest. A state with a flat landscape, alternating great chapadas and plain areas, Mato Grosso has three different ecosystems: Cerrado and the Amazon Rainforest; the vegetation of the open pasture covers 40% of the state. The Chapada dos Guimarães National Park, with caves, grottoes and waterfalls, is one of its tourist attractions. In the north is the Amazonian forest, with a biodiversity covering half of the state. Much of this has been disrupted and cleared for logging, agricultural purposes, pastures; the Xingu National Park and the Araguaia River are in Mato Grosso. Further south, the Pantanal, the world's largest wetland, is the habitat for nearly one thousand species of animals, many aquatic birds. Located in the Mato Grosso is the Chapada dos Guimarães, a unique environment of sandstone mountains that have eroded into amazingly varied terrain.
The terrain of the Mato Grosso is varied and includes cliffs and waterfalls. The biologically rich Pantanal, one of the world's largest wetland/prairie ecosystems, is located within this state. Much environmental degradation has occurred to the Pantanal since the late 20th century because of development, efforts to contain or slow it have had limited success; the Pantanal has a habitat similar to that of the Everglades in Florida in the United States, although the Pantanal is on a much larger scale. See also: History of Mato GrossoIn 1977, the state was split into two halves, with Mato Grosso do Sul being organized as a new state; the Bororo Indians live in the Mato Grosso area. As late as 1880, soldiers patrolled lands on the outskirts of Cuiabá, Mato Grosso's capital and largest city, to protect settlers from Bororo raids. By the end of the 19th century, although reduced by disease and by warfare with explorers, slave traders, prospectors and other indigenous groups, as many as five to ten thousand Bororo continued to occupy central and eastern Mato Grosso, as well as western Goiás.
The southwestern part of this state was ceded by Brazil to Bolivia in exchange for Acre, according to the Treaty of Petrópolis in 1903. This remote area attracted expeditions of exploration in the early 20th century that sought to find lost civilizations. A notable example were efforts by British Captain Percy Fawcett. In addition, theorists of Hollow Earth speculated that this region had sites of access to the interior of the earth and its settlements. Mato Grosso had a high rate of population growth in the 20th century due to timber and agricultural development; the state as a whole still has one of the lowest population densities of any Brazilian state. According to the IBGE of 2018, 3,441,998 people resided in the state; the population density was 3.8 inh./km². Urbanization: 76.6%. Ethnically, the state includes a high proportion of caboclos, as do other areas of interior Brazil; the last PNAD census revealed the following numbers: 1,532,000 Brown people. Agriculture is the largest component of GDP at 40.8%, followed by the service sector at 40.2%.
The industrial sector represents 19% of GDP. Mato Grosso exports: soybeans 83%, wood 5.6%, meats 4.8%, cotton 3.3%. The state's share of the Brazilian economy is 1.8%. Vehicles: 1,614,797. Portuguese is the official national language, as well as the primary language taught in schools; however and Spanish are part of the official high school curriculum. More than 58 universities are located in state of Mato Grosso. Cuiabá is home to the following universities: Federal University of Mato Grosso; the local culture is rich, due to the influences of and encounters with various cultures, such as indigenous peoples, colonial Spanish and other European settlers, Africans enslaved and transported there in the Atlantic slave trade by the Portuguese, other Europeans. Two long periods of isolation contributed to its developing along different lines than coastal areas of Brazil. Recent immigration has brought many urban influences to the state. Cuiabá has a rich cuisine influenced by natives, they have maintained traditional dances and music.
Dance and music were traditionally connected to the worship of Catholic saints and their festivals, Saint Benedict, being one of the favorite. The four-day period before Lent leading up to Ash Wednesday, known as Carnival is well celebrated; as with every state in Brazil, Mato Grosso celebrates this holiday in a typical fashion - including parades and dance - with wide participation. Fishing in the Teles Pires, São Benedito and Azul rivers is productive all year long. Bird watching: with the more than 570 species of catalogued birds and new species being discovered every year, the region of Alta Floresta and Azul River Basin receives constant visits from famous ornithologists and bird watchers; the largest sandstone cavern in Brazil, Aroe Jari, extends nearly 1,550 meters and several pr
Biblioteca Nacional de España
The Biblioteca Nacional de España is a major public library, the largest in Spain, one of the largest in the world. It is located on the Paseo de Recoletos; the library was founded by King Philip V in 1712 as the Palace Public Library. The Royal Letters Patent that he granted, the predecessor of the current legal deposit requirement, made it mandatory for printers to submit a copy of every book printed in Spain to the library. In 1836, the library's status as Crown property was revoked and ownership was transferred to the Ministry of Governance. At the same time, it was renamed the Biblioteca Nacional. During the 19th century, confiscations and donations enabled the Biblioteca Nacional to acquire the majority of the antique and valuable books that it holds. In 1892 the building was used to host the Historical American Exposition. On March 16, 1896, the Biblioteca Nacional opened to the public in the same building in which it is housed and included a vast Reading Room on the main floor designed to hold 320 readers.
In 1931 the Reading Room was reorganised, providing it with a major collection of reference works, the General Reading Room was created to cater for students and general readers. During the Spanish Civil War close to 500,000 volumes were collected by the Confiscation Committee and stored in the Biblioteca Nacional to safeguard works of art and books held until in religious establishments and private houses. During the 20th century numerous modifications were made to the building to adapt its rooms and repositories to its expanding collections, to the growing volume of material received following the modification to the Legal Deposit requirement in 1958, to the numerous works purchased by the library. Among this building work, some of the most noteworthy changes were the alterations made in 1955 to triple the capacity of the library's repositories, those started in 1986 and completed in 2000, which led to the creation of the new building in Alcalá de Henares and complete remodelling of the building on Paseo de Recoletos, Madrid.
In 1986, when Spain's main bibliographic institutions - the National Newspaper Library, the Spanish Bibliographic Institute and the Centre for Documentary and Bibliographic Treasures - were incorporated into the Biblioteca Nacional, the library was established as the State Repository of Spain's Cultural Memory, making all of Spain's bibliographic output on any media available to the Spanish Library System and national and international researchers and cultural and educational institutions. In 1990 it was made an Autonomous Entity attached to the Ministry of Culture; the Madrid premises are shared with the National Archaeological Museum. The Biblioteca Nacional is Spain's highest library institution and is head of the Spanish Library System; as the country's national library, it is the centre responsible for identifying, preserving and disseminating information about Spain's documentary heritage, it aspires to be an essential point of reference for research into Spanish culture. In accordance with its Articles of Association, passed by Royal Decree 1581/1991 of October 31, 1991, its principal functions are to: Compile and conserve bibliographic archives produced in any language of the Spanish state, or any other language, for the purposes of research and information.
Promote research through the study and reproduction of its bibliographic archive. Disseminate information on Spain's bibliographic output based on the entries received through the legal deposit requirement; the library's collection consists of more than 26,000,000 items, including 15,000,000 books and other printed materials, 4,500,000 graphic materials, 600,000 sound recordings, 510,000 music scores, more than 500,000 microforms, 500,000 maps, 143,000 newspapers and serials, 90,000 audiovisuals, 90,000 electronic documents, 30,000 manuscripts. The current director of the Biblioteca Nacional is Ana Santos Aramburo, appointed in 2013. Former directors include her predecessors Glòria Pérez-Salmerón and Milagros del Corral as well as historian Juan Pablo Fusi and author Rosa Regàs. Given its role as the legal deposit for the whole of Spain, since 1991 it has kept most of the overflowing collection at a secondary site in Alcalá de Henares, near Madrid; the Biblioteca Nacional provides access to its collections through the following library services: Guidance and general information on the institution and other libraries.
Bibliographic information about its collection and those held by other libraries or library systems. Access to its automated catalogue, which contains close to 3,000,000 bibliographic records encompassing all of its collections. Archive consultation in the library's reading rooms. Interlibrary loans. Archive reproduction. Biblioteca Digital Hispánica, digital library launched in 2008 by the Biblioteca Nacional de España List of libraries in Spain Media related to Biblioteca Nacional de España at Wikimedia Commons Official site Official web catalog
Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca
Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca was a Spanish explorer of the New World, one of four survivors of the 1527 Narváez expedition. During eight years of traveling across the US Southwest, he became a trader and faith healer to various Native American tribes before reconnecting with Spanish civilization in Mexico in 1536. After returning to Spain in 1537, he wrote an account, first published in 1542 as La relación y comentarios, which in editions was retitled Naufragios. Cabeza de Vaca is sometimes considered a proto-anthropologist for his detailed accounts of the many tribes of Native Americans that he encountered. In 1540, Cabeza de Vaca was appointed adelantado of what is now Argentina, where he was governor and captain general of New Andalusia, he worked to build up the population of Buenos Aires, where settlement had declined due to poor administration. Cabeza de Vaca was transported to Spain for trial in 1545. Although his sentence was commuted, he never returned to the Americas, he died in Seville.
Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca was born around 1490 into a hidalgo family, the son of Francisco Núñez de Vera and Teresa Cabeza de Vaca y de Zurita, in the town of Jerez de la Frontera, Cádiz, Spain. Despite the family's status as minor nobility, they possessed modest economic resources. In 16th-century documents, his name appears as "Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca". Álvar Núñez's maternal surname, Cabeza de Vaca was said to be associated with a maternal ancestor, Martín Alhaja. He had shown the Spanish king a secret mountain pass, marked by a cow’s skull, enabling the king to win the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa against the Muslim Moors in 1212; some sources indicate that after his parents died when he was young, the boy Álvar was taken in by relatives. Evidence suggests that he had a moderately comfortable early life, he was appointed chamberlain for the house of a noble family in his teen years participated in the conquest of the Canary Islands where he was appointed a governor. In 1511, he enlisted in the Spanish army, serving in Italy and Navarre.
Cabeza de Vaca was wounded at the Battle of Ravenna in 1512, served as lieutenant in the Italian city of Gaeta, married María Marmolejo, who came from a prominent converso family, supported King Charles during the Revolt of the Comuneros. He became more of a political figure in Spain. In 1527, Núñez joined the Florida expedition of conquistador Pánfilo de Narváez during which he served as treasurer and marshal. In 1527, Pánfilo de Narváez was sent by Spain’s King Charles V to explore the unknown territory which the Spanish called La Florida, including not only present-day Florida but a large, poorly-defined section of what today is the southeastern United States. Cabeza de Vaca was attached to this expedition as the expedition’s treasurer. Records indicate that he had a military role as one of the chief officers on the Narváez expedition, noted as sheriff or marshal. On June 17, 1527, the fleet of five ships set sail towards the province of Pánuco; when they stopped in Hispaniola for supplies, Narváez lost 150 of his men, who chose to stay on the island rather than continue with the expedition.
The expedition continued to Cuba, where Cabeza de Vaca took two ships to recruit more men and buy supplies. Their fleet was battered by a hurricane, resulting in the destruction of both ships and loss of most of Cabeza de Vaca’s men. Narváez arrived days to pick up the survivors. By February 1528, the remaining ships and men resumed their expedition, they anchored near what is now known as the Jungle Prada Site in St. Petersburg, claiming this land as a possession of the Spanish crown. After communicating with the Native Americans, the Spanish heard rumours that a city named Apalachen was full of food and gold. Against the advice of Cabeza de Vaca, Narváez decided to split up his men; some 300 were to go on foot to Apalachen and the other would sail to Pánuco. Apalachen had no gold but had only corn, but the explorers were told a village known as Aute, about 5 or 9 days away, was rich, they harassed by the Native Americans. A few Spanish men were more wounded; when they arrived in Aute, they left.
But the fields had not been harvested, so at least the Spanish scavenged food there. After several months of fighting native inhabitants through wilderness and swamp, the party decided to abandon the interior and try to reach Pánuco. Slaughtering and eating their remaining horses, they gathered the stirrups, spurs and other metal items, they fashioned a bellows from deer hide to make a fire hot enough to forge nails. They used these in making five primitive boats to use to get to Mexico. Cabeza de Vaca commanded one of these vessels. Depleted of food and water, the men followed the coast westward, but when they reached the mouth of the Mississippi River, the powerful current swept them out into the Gulf, where the five rafts were separated by a hurricane. Some lives were lost forever, including that of Narváez. Two crafts with about 40 survivors each, including Cabeza de Vaca, wrecked on or near Galveston Island. Out of the 80 or so survivors, only 15 lived past that winter; the explorers called the Island of Doom.
They tried to repair the rafts, using what remained of their own clothes as o