Adventures in the Unknown Interior of America - Essay

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Adventures in the Unknown Interior of America is a tale of epic proportions worthy of The Odyssey. The only difference being that this tale is true. Written by Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, Adventures in the Unknown Interior of America details the events of Cabeza de Vaca’s eight-year trip from Spain to the New World. It becomes quite clear though his journey that Cabeza de Vaca changes into a completely different man than he was when he set out from Spain in the name of the king, and God.

Cabeza de Vaca was originally part of the 600-man Narváez Expedition, and in the end was one of four survivors. The trip was highly disastrous, on the literal first page he tells how local inhabitants “seduced more than 140 of our men to the desert”#. Granted, they didn’t die, but losing over 140 near the very beginning of your journey seems like a bad start. Unfortunately their luck wasn’t about to get any better. Shortly after they leave they are hit by a strong hurricane, killing 60 men.# A few weeks later they are hit by another tempest, but no men are lost during this one.

In the next few months, they lost about 218 more men to the wilderness and natives as they traveled across the New World (making the total men lost at this point 418 out of 600). They were forced to kill their horses for food, and eventually they constructed boats in an attempt to find Mexico, and other Spaniards. They made five boats each with enough room for roughly 50 men. # Yet ANOTHER storm hits them, and this one lasts for six days, and several boats are lost After the storm they are so desperate for water that some of them even resort to drinking salt water, resulting in several more deaths. At this point only about 40 men of the initial 600 are alive. They shipwreck on an island which they promptly call Malhado, “The Island of Doom”.# Over the next few months, more survivors die off, and others are put into slavery, including Cabeza de Vaca. He is enslaved for several years, now being...
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