Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca’s account of the doomed Narváez expedition to the vast unexplored lands beyond the northern frontier of New Spain has long been heralded as the quintessential tale of the European confronting the wilderness of North America and its native inhabitants for the first time. After living captive among native peoples of the present-day Texas coast for almost six years, Cabeza de Vaca traveled overland through present-day western Texas and northern Mexico until being reunited with his countrymen near the Pacific coast. His account offers an isolated glimpse of areas of Gulf coastal Texas and northeastern Mexico that would not be visited again by Europeans for over 150 years and is the earliest authentic eyewitness description of the North American bison. Volume 2 analyzes the narrative in discrete segments, putting into context Cabeza de Vaca’s descriptions of the landscape, ecology, and peoples he encountered. It also includes new research into the preparations of Narváez’s expedition in Spain and a fresh study of the lives and fates of Cabeza de Vaca’s three surviving companions.
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