Texas History Essay Samples
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After reviewing “The Narrative of of Alvar Nunez, Cabeza de Vaca” printed in 1871 by Buckingham Smith and "Enslaved" by Andres Resendez it is apparent they are vastly different, yet also similar. Both pieces describe the landing of the Spaniards on Galveston Island and portray the events that occurred immediately after that landing. However, the primary source account by Buckingham was produced long after the events took place and did not introduce any secondary research. On the other hand, Resendez’ account was much more in depth and incorporated other circumstances Cabeza de Vaca did not seem to report. Certainly these two documents exhibit similarities and differences that will be discussed in this paper.
In the Resendez account, the author goes into much more detail about how Cabeza de Vaca and his colleagues survived once reaching the island. In desperate straits, the crew is barely hanging on to survive and the thought of their illustrious goal of colonization lingers, but staying alive is the foremost option. What is telling is how Resendez continues to note the difference between Christians (the Spaniards) and the Indians, but the Indians were the ones that made survival an option for the crew. Although they did not follow in the ways of the Lord, they were initially willing to share what they knew about the environment and saved the crews lives through their concurrence with nature, in addition to their generosity. In the Resendez document, however, he describes how Cabeza de Vaca and his colleagues, of high stature in Europe were
reduced to slavery to live and constantly lived in fear of cannibalism. They did, however, resort to it themselves when they needed food to live on. How ironic that the great conquerors who felt themselves superior by their Christianity, ended up being slaves to the barbaric people they did not respect?
The primary source account is similar in describing the awful state of the party when they landed and what they had to endure as far as facing the natural elements in a strange land. That is the only way the two accounts are similar for Cabeza de Vaca’s account, years after it occurred, still presented a view of the Europeans surviving and never acknowledging the fact they owed the native population their very lives. It was as if he would not reveal they had yielded to the barbarians in order to live. His account reveals they never let they goal of their mission dissuade them and always held in the Indians in lower esteem while thankful for their help. It was as if the Europeans, once sustained, overcame the natural elements and asserted their rightful place as Christians.
Both accounts hold sway as far as the history of Texas because it illustrates the state’s unique history. Certainly they had native populations there that aided the Spaniards at times, but it also illustrates their history of resistance. Texas has always held independence of some sort from the Spaniards. They were defiant and went with the view the Spaniards were weaker. They could be defeated and their Christianity or status would not save them from the elements. Although Texas history does not include all the accounts of the Indians and neither do either one of these documents, the spirit they portrayed in the Resendez document has always persisted throughout the course of time. It is simply fascinating the Spaniards refused to give them their
just due and revealing at how primary source documents can be faulty when it comes to revealing factual information about historical events.
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