Dr. Frank de la Teja discusses Cabeza de Vaca and La relación

Who was Cabeza de Vaca?

This video discusses the history of Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, the origin of his name and where his family fit in the structure of Spanish society at the time. It also describes the origins of the expedition and what role Cabeza de Vaca was assigned to play.


Was the expedition jinxed from the beginning?

This video discusses the problems with the expedition and some of the questionable leadership decisions that plagued it from the beginning. It touches on the conquistador’s first contact with Native Americans in Florida and their decision to return to the Gulf of Mexico on rafts.


Where did Cabeza de Vaca’s raft land?

This video explains theories about exactly where along the Texas coast Cabeza de Vaca’s raft crashed and the different experience they had with the Indians in Texas vs. Florida.


Cabeza de Vaca as faith healer and protector of the Native Americans.

Discussion of how Cabeza de Vaca and one of his men, a North African slave named Esteban, operated as faith healers among the Native American tribes and how they eventually became protectors of the tribes when they came back in contact with Spanish forces.


What became of Esteban?

This video discusses the fate of Esteban after the events depicted in La relación.


How did Cabeza de Vaca reunite with the Spanish?

Discussion of how Cabeza de Vaca found his way back to Spanish forces after being lost for so many years. It also describes the brutality of how the Spanish were treating the Native Americans and ultimately how Cabeza de Vaca came to defend the indigenous people’s right to be treated more fairly.


Did Cabeza de Vaca’s experience change his attitude toward the Native Americans?

This video describes how Cabeza de Vaca’s views changed through his experiences, and how these views clashed with the usual treatment of the indigenous population by the Spanish.


Any advice for today’s readers of La relación?

This video encourages readers of La relación to suspend their preconceptions and try to recognize the viewpoint of a Spanish Catholic in the early 16thcentury. 


What are the different ways to look at La relacion?

This video describes different elements of La relación that might interest readers


Why did Cabeza de Vaca write La relación?

This video suggests that Cabeza de Vaca may have written his book to convince the king of Spain to treat the Indians more humanely (and make some money for himself as well).


Spanish Literature at the time of La relación’s release

This video describes book publishing and education in early 16th century Spain.


Why should anyone today read the original Spanish of the 1555 edition?

This video describes the possible differences between reading original texts versus modern translations.