Castaways begin amazing journey

November 6th, 1528

On this day in 1528, some eighty survivors of the Narváez expedition washed up on an island off the Texas coast. The castaways included Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca and three other men: the slave Estevanico, Alonso Castillo Maldonado, and Andrés Dorantes de Carranza. These "four ragged castaways" became the first non-Indians to tread on Texas soil and live to tell their remarkable story. Cabeza de Vaca, born about 1490 in Spain, recovered from an almost fatal illness shortly after landing on the coast and then traveled the Texas coast and interior as a trader with native groups, including the Karankawas. The Indians revered him as a medicine man. He eventually rendezvoused with the three other survivors, and their journey ended when they arrived at the Spanish outpost of Culiacán near the Pacific Coast of Mexico in 1536. Cabeza de Vaca’s account of his amazing odyssey in his Relación detailed valuable ethnographic, geographic, and biotic information on Texas. He died in Spain in the mid-1550s.

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Castaways begin amazing journey

November 6th, 1528

On this day in 1528, some eighty survivors of the Narváez expedition washed up on an island off the Texas coast. The castaways included Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca and three other men: the slave Estevanico, Alonso Castillo Maldonado, and Andrés Dorantes de Carranza. These "four ragged castaways" became the first non-Indians to tread on Texas soil and live to tell their remarkable story. Cabeza de Vaca, born about 1490 in Spain, recovered from an almost fatal illness shortly after landing on the coast and then traveled the Texas coast and interior as a trader with native groups, including the Karankawas. The Indians revered him as a medicine man. He eventually rendezvoused with the three other survivors, and their journey ended when they arrived at the Spanish outpost of Culiacán near the Pacific Coast of Mexico in 1536. Cabeza de Vaca’s account of his amazing odyssey in his Relación detailed valuable ethnographic, geographic, and biotic information on Texas. He died in Spain in the mid-1550s.

«   Previous Next   »

Related Handbook of Texas Articles

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With more than 27,000 articles about Texas history, the Texas State Historical Association's Handbook of Texas is the largest online encyclopedia about all things Texas. Now you can celebrate the history of Texas every day by activating your free subscription to Texas Day by Day. Each day's email tells a little bit more of the story of Texas and links to our collection of more than 27,000 articles. It's one of the best ways to learn more about Texas history — in only 15 minutes a day!

Activate your free subscription to Texas Day by Day and you can:

  • Explore Texas history each day in bite-sized pieces conveniently delivered to your inbox each morning
  • Astound your friends with your Texas history prowess
  • Get in-depth looks at some of the overlooked events and landmarks in Texas history
  • Discover new places to explore in the Lone Star State
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