COLUMBUS AND CABEZA DE VACA 1
Columbusand Cabeza de Vaca
Christopher were diligent explorers whoseaccomplishments led to great discoveries. Although both meninteracted with Native Americans, Columbus viewed them as propertywhile Cabeza de Vaca was impressed by their rich culture.
During his interactions with the Native Americans, Columbus focusedon placing them under servitude. In fact, he stated that he “foundvery many islands filled with people innumerable, and of them all Ihave taken possession for their highnesses, by proclamation made andwith the royal standard unfurled, and no opposition was offered tome” (Baym, Levine, & Franklin, 2012, p.25). Therefore, heviewed the local populations as mere commodities. On the other hand,Cabeza de Vaca was fascinated by the Native Americans’ culture.
In addition, Columbus was exasperated concerning the nature of hisservice. He noted that he had gone “to serve at the age oftwenty-eight years, and now I have not a hair on my body that is notgray, and my body is infirm. The restitution of my honor, thereparation of my losses, and the punishment of him who did this, willspread abroad the fame of your royal nobility” (p.27). Columbusalso stated that he “did not sail upon this voyage to gain honor orwealth this is certain, for already all hope of that was dead”(p.27). On the other hand, Cabeza de Vaca stated that “I can sayfor myself that I undertook the march abroad, on royal authorization,with a firm trust that my service would be as evident anddistinguished as my ancestors’, and that I would not need to speakto be counted among those your Majesty honors for diligence andfidelity in affairs of state (p.30). Consequently, he was proud ofhis service to his country.
Both narrators are quite reliable since they mention specificdetails. For example, Cabeza de Vaca noted that “the people aregenerous to each other with what little they have. There is no chief.All belonging to the same lineage keep together. They speak twolanguages: Capoque and Han” (p.31). Historical facts can confirmthe authenticity of such claims. Furthermore, Cabeza de Vacamentioned individuals such as Alonso del Castillo, Andre Dorantes,and Diego de Alcaraz. On the other hand, Columbus wrote that he hadserved seven years at the “royal court” (p.27). Furthermore, hemanifested his desire to place the lands under “royal and exaltedlordship” for the purpose of “securing a very great revenue”(p.27). Therefore, both narrators were reliable.
Indeed, both writings were different in that Columbus focused onconquering lands while Cabeza de Vaca documented the rich culture ofAmerican Indians. Columbus was also exasperated by his efforts whileCabeza de Vaca manifested great satisfaction in his accomplishments.Both explorers were quite reliable since they mentioned actual namesof historical persons and places.
Baym, N., Levine, R. S., & Franklin, W. (2012). The Nortonanthology of American literature (8th ed.). New York, NY: W. W.Norton & Company