Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca reading

Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca reading

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Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, "Indians of the Rio Grande" Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca came to America as the second in command for Pánfilo de Narváez' s expedition to conquer Florida in 1527. Abandoned and shipwrecked with three companions, Cabeza de Vaca made an incredible journey across the American Southwest from 1528 to 1536. Cabeza de Vaca and his companions were captives of several Indian tribes in Texas, but eventually they walked from Texas through New Mexico and Arizona to Mexico. Cabeza de Vaca's detailed descriptions provide important insights into early 16th century native American life and material culture. His stories, told in Mexico City, fueled the Spanish drive for gold and led to Coronado's conquest of New Mexico in 1540. SOURCE: Cabeza de Vaca. Adventures in the Unknown Interior of America, translated and edited by Cyclone Covey (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1961). The Indians are so accustomed to running that, without resting or getting tired, they run from morning till night in pursuit of a deer, and kill a great many, because they follow until the game is worn out, sometimes catching it alive. Their huts are of matting placed over four arches. They carry them on their back and move every two or three days in quest of food; they plant nothing that would be of any use. They are very merry people, and even when famished do not cease to dance and celebrate their feasts and ceremonials. Their best times are when "tunas" (prickly pears) are ripe, because then they have plenty to eat and spend the time on dancing and eating day and night. As long as these tunas last they squeeze and open them and set them to dry. When dried they are put in baskets like figs and kept to be eaten on the way. The peelings they grind and pulverize. All over this country there are a great many deer, fowl and other animals which I have before enumerated. Here also they come up with cows; I have seem them thrice and have eaten their meat. They appear to me of the size of those in Spain. Their horns are small, like those of the Moorish cattle; the hair is very long, like fine wool and like a peajacket; some are brownish and others black, and to my taste they have better and more meat than those from here. Of the small
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Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca reading

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