A Land So Strange: The Epic Journey of Cabeza de Vaca by Andrés Reséndez

By Andrés Reséndez

In 1528, a challenge set out from Spain to colonize Florida. however the day trip went horribly fallacious: behind schedule by way of a typhoon, knocked off beam through a great mistakes of navigation, and finally doomed by means of a disastrous choice to split the lads from their ships, the challenge quick grew to become a determined trip of survival. Of the 400 males who had launched into the voyage, in basic terms 4 survived - 3 Spaniards and an African slave. This tiny band persevered a awful march via Florida, a harrowing raft passage around the Louisiana coast, and years of enslavement within the American Southwest. They journeyed for nearly ten years looking for the Pacific Ocean that will consultant them domestic, and so they have been perpetually replaced by means of their event. the lads lived with numerous nomadic Indians and discovered numerous indigenous languages. They observed lands, peoples, crops, and animals that no outsider had ever prior to visible. during this mesmerizing story of 4 castaways wandering in an unknown land, Andrés Reséndez brings to existence the monstrous, dynamic international of North the US quite a few years sooner than eu settlers might rework it endlessly.

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At the eleventh hour he attempted to relieve his old secretary of command. By then, however, Cortés was too deeply involved to be stopped. In the early hours of November 18, 1518, he gathered his ships, crews, and soldiers and left Cuba in haste. When Velázquez was notified that Cortés had taken to sea, he hurried to the shore at daybreak. With Velázquez beckoning to him, Cortés got on a small boat and rowed within earshot. Velázquez reportedly shouted to him: “Why, compadre, are you going so? qxd 9/11/07 10:01 AM Page 17 THE PRIZE THAT WAS SNATCHED AWAY It was not an auspicious beginning to the expedition.

Qxd 9/11/07 10:01 AM Page 20 A LAND SO STRANGE The King’s death must have impressed Narváez profoundly. Ferdinand’s long and portentous reign, first jointly with Queen Isabella, had spanned Narváez’s entire life. During that time Spaniards had lived through their most heroic and hopeful days as the Catholic monarchs unified their realms, drove the last Muslim enclaves out of the Iberian Peninsula, and sponsored the expedition of an obscure Genoese that culminated in the discovery of America. In five decades Ferdinand and Isabel had managed to parlay a collection of disheveled kingdoms at the tip of Europe into the most promising empire in the world.

As the rain let up and the moon and the fireflies appeared, one of Cortés’s detachments surrounded the base of the pyramid where Narváez had set up his command. 41 The fight intensified as Cortés’s men reached the top steps and approached a shrine of wood and thatch from which Narváez and some thirty men had been firing guns and arrows. As Cortés’s detachment drew near, Narváez’s warriors reverted to swords and pikes. Narváez himself emerged swinging a twohanded broadsword, and a pitched battle ensued.

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