“Shipwrecked” by Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca, and the Description of the Journey Which he Made Through Florida with Panfilo de Narvaez


Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca (1490-1560) was second in command of an expedition led by Pánfilo de Narváez (1478-1528) that left Spain in June 1527 with five ships and 600 men with the mission of establishing a colony in “Florida.” The expedition suffered storms, desertions, disease, and other difficulties in the Caribbean. On November 5 and 6, 1528, 80 surviving members of the expedition were shipwrecked on or near Galveston Island, Texas. After living among the local Native Americans for six years, Cabeza de Vaca and three other survivors headed south and then west, hoping to re-establish contact with their countrymen. They eventually made it to Mexico City, becoming the first Europeans to explore what are now Texas and the American Southwest. La Relación (Report), or what came to be called Naufragios (Shipwrecked), is Cabeza da Vaca’s official account of his travels, prepared for the Spanish crown. The work was first published in Zamora, Spain, in 1542. This later edition was published in Madrid in 1749.

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Title in Original Language

Naufragios de Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca, y Relacion de la jornada, que hizo a la Florida con el adelantado Panfilo de Narvaez.

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Physical Description

52 pages; 31 centimeters


  • Woodcut initial and headpiece. Headpiece has Jesuit emblem (IHS).

Last updated: September 16, 2016