This riveting true story is the first major narrative detailing the exploration of North America by Spanish conquistadors (1528-1536). The author, Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca, was a fortune-seeking Spanish nobleman and the treasurer of an expedition sent to claim for Spain a vast area of today's southern United States. In simple, straightforward prose, Cabeza de Vaca chronicles the nine-year odyssey endured by the men after a shipwreck forced them to make a westward journey on foot from present-day Florida through Louisiana and Texas into California. In thirty-eight breif chapters, he describes the scores of natural and human obstacles they encountered as they made their way across the unmapped land. Cabeza de Vaca's gripping account offers a trove of ethnographic information, including descriptions and interpretations of native cultures, making its a powerful precursor to modern anthropology.