Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Journey of Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca and his Companions from Florida to the Pacific, 1528-1536

This is a wild adventure story for which Indiana Jones is just a cheap imitation.  It begins with a group of 600 Spanish explorers headed for what is now Tampa Bay in Florida.  After a series of disasters involving the Indians, they kill and eat their horses and make rafts attempting to travel to Mexico.  Somewhere along the Texas coast, this comes to an end for the 80 survivors, who then die by starvation, exposure, or are killed by the natives.  Finally, a few of them are made slaves and learn the local Indian language(s) as well as their manner of survival.

One of Cabeza's duties as a slave is to perform faith healings in the manner of their shamans.  Cabeza makes the sign of the cross, blows on the injury, and soon he is a local hero.  The four remaining companions eventually make their escape and their fame as Charismatic faith healers grows and brings them along their journey, which eventually leads to the Pacific coast of Mexico where Cabeza is able to reconnect with a civilization that he had long ago given up hope of ever seeing again.  

No comments: