Cabeza de Vaca's Background
Cabaza during better days by Donald E. Sheppard             DEVACA'S TRAIL ON GOOGLE EARTH


      Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca was born in 1490 of Spanish nobility. His ancestors had been warriors for generations. Vaca's name translates into "Head of a Cow," a title bestowed upon an ancestor by Spain's King who was victorious in battle after following a difficult trail which he had marked with cow skulls. Vaca distinguished himself as an officer in battles against the French, Jews and Moors. He was merciless to heretics. On the other hand, he believed that suffering was an obligation for all true Catholics.

      In 1527 he was appointed Treasurer (the King's Agent) of the ill-fated Panfilo de Narvaez expedition and sailed to America. Vaca described that eight year adventure using the same terms and concepts later used by DeSoto's Chroniclers, who followed much of Vaca's trail through Florida. Their relations of Vaca's activity are used in the Florida portion of this presentation.

Vaca's Florida Landing       State's Briefs