The book “A Land So Strange” by Andrés Reséndez basically illustrates 8 years of long odyssey from what is now Tampa, Florida to Mexico City on Cabeza de Vaca’s perspective. Cabaza de Vaca along with his companions named Andres Dorante, Alonso del Castillo, and Estebanico, are survivors of failed expedition to New World from Spain during 16th century. Unlike other members from the expedition, these four members found a way to live with native Indian tribes to survive. They were slaves of Indians and treated cruelly all the time. However, after long period of time of being slaves, they decided to make escape to Spanish territory.
During their fugitive period, they had chance to help injured Indians. Their knowledge of certain medicine, illness, and strong belief in Christianity helped promoted themselves to holy shamans whom many of native Indian obey and follow. They were able to get enough food and place to sleep during their journey to find Spain territory in America, and also followed by prodigious amount of Indians. As a result, these survivors changed his view on Indians and New World. Andres Resendez said “rare turning point” in the text. This basically symbolizes potential value of America and Cebeza’s expedition to New World which totally changed his life.
I truly agree with Resendez’s claim of “rare turning poin”t because this everything started from one expedition. This expedition was led by Panfilo de Narvaez. This man was described as “fierce-looking, tall and muscular…. as if it came from a vault. ” (page 276) He was reliable man with strong determination, but he was in hurry and rush. He was humiliated by Cortez before, and wanted to discover new land in New World to recover his reputation. However, there weren’t enough tools for sail and reliable sailors who knew how to get to New World during 16th century. Unfortunately expedition had begun with very poor environment.
After facing with many difficulties, such as settlers on the expedition suddenly decided not to go to New World, facing with storms and hurricanes, they ended up landing on Florida which wasn’t their actual destination. Narvaez decided to split their members so they can explorer the land more efficiently. Four main protagonists, Cabeza along with his members moved with Narvaez and this was starting of their disastrous long odyssey. However, at the end of their journey, Cabeza and his members earned priceless information about New World, such as natural resources, native Indian tribes, and geographic information of America.
These were also important and rare-turning point for America that people started to explore and show interest in land of America. Resendez said “a fork in the path of exploration and conquest. ” After long journey Cabeza and his members went through, they gained tons of priceless information about America. Since people were lack of information about New World during16th century, Cabeza’s journey motivated numerous nations to step into America for variety purposes such as natural resources, enslaving native Indians, and territory expansion.
I agree with Resendez’s claim because America was invaded by various countries starting from 16th century and as a result, split into numerous pieces. Resendez mentioned “a different type of colonization” and a lost opportunity for a “humane colonization. ” These ideas are obviously from Cabeza after long odyssey he had experienced in America. Cabeza and his members were called “shamans and revered healers” by prodigious amount of native Indians. As a result, Cabeza dreamt of peaceful approach to native Indians rather than use of violence.
In 16th century, the popular method of Spain’s colonization was by use of violence towards native Indians. Spain believed native Indians were uncivilized and therefore looked down on them. As result, huge amount of native Indians were captured by Spain army as slaves and treated severely. They also torched many of Indian villages. However, Cabeza was unlike other Spain people, and wanted to deal with native Indians peacefully. I agree with this idea because native Indians were truly admired and believed in Cabeza and his members.
According to page 2607, “They found themselves at the head of moving crowds that could reach as many as 3,000 or 4,000 people,” this illustrates how big their followers were. Soon, Cabeza and his member finally stepped into Spain territory in America after almost 10 years of long journey. As soon as Cabeza met captain of Spain army, he opposed the idea of enslaving native Indians. Captain and other Spain army men didn’t believe in “shamans and revered healers,” but annoyed by them since they are disturbing their duties of enslaving native Indians.
Cabeza and his members along with other native Indians had to walk through depopulated area and as a result, seven men and many Indian friends died. However, Cabeza didn’t give up, and he earned a chance to go to Rio de la Plata as governor. His methods of conquest were extremely unconventional that forbade riding on horseback but barefoot. Also licensed agent must be between any trades with Indians to prevent any abuse. Although, Cabeza strongly believed in his peaceful methods was right and Christian, Spanish settler didn’t appreciate it at all.
As a result, there was a rebellion against Cabeza and he was sent back to Spain and imprisoned for years. Cabeza de Vaca is great and honorable man who demonstrated way of Christian and actually tried to accomplish his dream and belief unlike other members of his odyssey. He was treated as almost demigod among native Indians, but ended up in jail in Spain due to his peaceful and humane colonization methods. However, Spain may have turned out a completely difference place if Cabeza’s method of peaceful and humane colonization had been adopted by Spain in 16th century.