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Cabeza de Vaca and his men came into contact with some Indians from Florida that made them believe that there was gold nearby. They walked for two weeks to find an Indian village. His impressions would be revealed later in his works. After an attempt to return, Alvar Núñez and his group continued toward the Appalachians, suffered fatigue and Indian attacks, but did find gold. The group then headed back to the coast and along the way they were attacked several times. He never saw his Captain Pánfilo de Narváez, who refused to throw a rope to rescue his boat. Narvaez’s boat was thrown out to sea by a strong wind and disappeared. Cabeza de Vaca made it to an island where they found very friendly Indians. There he was able to learn much about indigenous customs and cures through supposed magical powers.

Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca was a member of the crew on Fernando Magallanes’s famous journey circumnavigating the globe. However, he spent most of his life among aboriginal peoples, learning their customs and ways while engaging in the slave trade and other professions.