The Spanish in South Florida

The Spanish in South Florida


  • The Spanish in South Florida

Published Date

  • published 1940


[page 3]
After Hernando Cortez plundered the rich realm of the Aztecs,
Spain began avidly to explore in the hope of finding further riches. In
1527 Panfilo de Narvaez sailed from San Lucar de Barrameda with
orders from Charles V to explore and conquer Florida. Among those
who sailed with him were Juan Ortiz, Alvar Minez Cabeza de Vaca,
Lope de Oviedo, Andrez Dorantos, Alonzo del Castillo, a Moor named
Estevanico, and a man known as Esquival. (8)

This expedition ended in disaster. Narvaez divided his forces at
Tampa Bay and led an exploring expedition into the interior along
Florida's west coast. Many of this party died and the remainder, on
returning to the Gulf, found that the ships had deserted. Narvaez built
five barges and sailed for Panuco, a Spanish settlement near the present-
day city of Tampico, Mexico. (8)

Even this effort failed. The barges were wrecked in a storm and
a mere handful of men survived, only to fall into the hands of the
Indians. Alvar Nunez, after years of hardship, finally escaped and
returned to Spain to write a memorable account of his experiences. With
him were Dorantes, Castillo, and Estevanico, the Barbaray Negro.
Oviedo, who also survived to write of his travels, escaped by another
route. Ortiz was found by De Soto's expedition many years later. (5
and 8)

Hernando de Soto was only eight years of age when Columbus
sailed on his first voyage. (6) He accompanied Pizarro to Peru and,
sharing in the rich ransom of Atahaullpa, became a wealthy