Learning from Cabeza de Vaca
September 7, 2007 6:11 PM   Subscribe

Understanding the foodways of Texas' coastal natives by studying the written account of Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca's 7-year sojourn amongst the tribes of the Texas coastal plain. Shipwrecked on Galveston Island, and imprisoned by the natives, he amazingly survived a lengthy trek across Texas and Mexico [map -- lg. jpeg] and recorded his saga for posterity. Full Text.
posted by Devils Rancher (8 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
This is really cool, and I can't wait to get a chance to peruse it in depth. Thanks Devils Rancher.
posted by redhanrahan at 6:42 PM on September 7, 2007

Jeez, one more great primary source of information about a fascinating subject that I have to put on the list!
posted by Burhanistan at 7:37 PM on September 7, 2007

The historiography of Cabeza de Vaca's amazing journey is complex. For newcomers probably the easiest place to start is Brutal Journey: Cabeza de Vaca and the Epic First Crossing of North America (2006) which ties together all the latest research into a very readable narrative of events. It's interesting to then compare that with de Vaca's account.

There is fairly involved community of people studying this with lots of debate and shifting interpretations. Since he was one of the first, before the waves of disease hit, there are a lot of clues what life was like pre-European contact, as the links in this FPP are about.
posted by stbalbach at 7:58 PM on September 7, 2007

Fascinating, though as a former Galveston resident I'm especially intrigued by the thought of calling the place as Cabeza de Vaca did: Isla de Malhado, Island of Misfortune. Sadly, misfortune marks many points in the Island's story.
posted by Robert Angelo at 8:01 PM on September 7, 2007

Also I'm not sure what free translation is online (probably out of copyright pre-1923), but this one is up to date and annotated.
posted by stbalbach at 8:05 PM on September 7, 2007

(...Brutal Journey: Cabeza de Vaca and the Epic First Crossing of North America (2006)...)

Looks excellent. Thanks for the heads-up, there. I'm a voracious Texas history reader, but I hadn't seen that.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:18 PM on September 7, 2007

Excellent. Thanks for this.
posted by dersins at 10:58 PM on September 7, 2007

Fantastic. I just finished re-reading Texas last week, and a portion of the book deals with de Vaca.
posted by smcniven at 1:23 AM on September 8, 2007

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