Alvar Nunez Cabeza De Vaca was a great explorer. We think he was a brave and noble person, and we are going to tell you about this person's life.

Alvar Nunez Cabeza De Vaca was born around 1490. He was born to a Hidalgo family, which means Spanish noblemen. Around 1527, De Vaca was on a royal expedition to capture, or occupy the Mainland. Alvar and 3 other men would be the only ones who would survive the expedition of 600 men. After Cabeza and his expedition landed, Cabeza wanted to keep the group together in one part of the land, but other officers overruled him, and they wanted to go and find some gold, because they heard rumors about a lot of gold in these kinds of parts. They all set of in Florida, but soon they got lost. Soon, they met with the natives who lived there, and they kept fighting and fighting. The men became weary, ill, and injured. But, of course every story must have a twist, and the twist starts now.

De Vaca and his exploration were weaving a great plan to escape this horrific life. The expedition started killing their own horses, and started eating them. Then, they started melting down different kinds of metal. Using the resources, they built 5 primitive boats. Then, they started going up the Mississippi river and they traveled up to the mouth of the Mississippi river. But sadly, a hurricane separated the expedition. Some boats carrying the men were lost forever. But, some of the boats were washed to the shore of Galveston island. The men called this island Malhado, which means misfortune. The explorers actually meant it to mean the Island Of Doom.

While trying to repair their broken necessities, everything went pelmel. The explorers got kidnapped with Native American tribes, but luckily after a few years, they escaped. In all, De Vaca explored what is now the U.S. state of Texas, and parts of northern Mexico, and maybe even smaller parts of New Mexico and Arizona.

De Vaca became a trader which made him free to roam the tribes. De Vaca developed a liking towards the native people. De Vaca explained his survival like this. He said that he was supposed to learn the gift of healing the sick given by God. He became very popular because people thought he could heal the sick. People went with him wherever he went. Nobody knows if he could really could heal the sick.

Cabeza finally got back to New Spain. From there, he went to Mexico City, and from there, he sailed off to England. Scientists do not know what kind of route De Vaca traveled, since he wrote his biography a long time later. His route was all from memory, and he did not even remember the route well! Also, De Vaca's geography was messed up.

Cabeza wrote a report about his journey. It was ordered by the king. It was first called The Report, but then it was changed to Shipwrecked. (It was all in Spanish.)

In 1540. Cabeza was assigned to be governor of Rio de la Plata. De Vaca accepted. He was supposed to reestablish the city of Buenos Aires in Present-Day Argentina. Once the ship got on land, the expedition followed Native trails. They were the first to see Iguacu Falls. Soon, De Vaca developed a liking towards the Native people. Former governor, Domingo Martinez De Irala, arrested him for poor administration in 1544, and he returned him to Spain. (He stole his powers.)

Alvar Nunez Cabeza De Vaca died very poor in Valladolid around the year 1558.


  • De Vaca's wife was Marie Marmolejo.
  • De Vaca and his wife did not want to live with each other anymore, so they stopped talking for a while.
  • Nobody knows if De Vaca had kids.
  • De Vaca's dad was Francisco De Vera, and his mom was Teresa Cabeza De Vaca y De Zurita.
  • De Vaca was banished and sent to work in Africa after Domingo Martinez De Irala took De Vaca's powers.

By: Brigit Joseph, Sanjay Rhadakrishnan, and Morgan Dyck.

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