Cabeza de Vaca
In 1492, Cabeza de Vaca was born into a noble family of Spain. He explored the New World and left a detailed description and account of the various American tribes that he had interacted with in his well known work "The Report", which later came to be named "Shipwrecks".
He was famous for the survival instincts in him which helped him come back home after his long struggle and taught him the strategies and tactics of fitting into adverse situations.
He set out on the Narvaez Expedition which was in search of greater wealth and gold. Cabeza de Vaca was a major part of this endeavour and played the significant role of being its Treasurer.
When the fleet was hit by a fatal storm, Vaca was one of the four survivors. He thus went on to become a part of a difficult struggle for survival. He had to live in adverse situations and handle native folks who viewed him and his fellow survivors with suspicion and contempt.
This experience taught him much about the different tribes of that time and he got an opportunity to understand their life styles and their traditions.
He also managed to manipulate them to ensure his own safety and was thus nothing less than an immense source of inspiration for fellow and future explorers back home!
During this period his instinct for life and his love for travelling took him to numerous places and this was the time in his life when he explored various parts of the New World in order to find his way back to his native land. He had many unique experiences and was introduced to several new lands and their specific cultures.
Unfortunately, the exact route of his travels during this time has never been known for sure because he did not have the opportunity to document his experiences until much later. In 1537, he and his fellow survivors finally came across their native people and found their way back to Spain. They had successfully won their battle for identity and life.
On his return to his homeland, Cabeza de Vaca sent to the king, an account of his experiences in the New World and his struggle for survival. This account went on to be published later in the form of the famous "The Report" and was later named "Shipwrecks".
Here Vaca gave descriptions of the tribes he came across and described how his determination to find his way back to his people and his land finally brought him success. In 1540 he went to South America as the governor of the expedition.
"Shipwrecks" has assisted many future generations to learn about the world and its ways of that time and has gone on to become a classic! Vaca not only showed the way to many adventurous explorers of his time but his literary contribution has been of great help to historians and enthusiasts of the future too!