TThe first essay assignment will use the relación of Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca to explore the historical significance and legacies of the 16th century encounters between Europeans and Americans. To start, locate a copy of Núñez’s report of his travels from Cuba to Florida through the lands and peoples of North America. You can access an archived copy of his report at one of these web sites:
- Wisconsin Historical Society’s “American Journeys” website: http://www.americanjourneys.org/aj-070/print/index.asp
Select “Print or Download”
- Cabeza de Vaca’s “Adventures in the Unknown Interior of America” (1961 translation):
TEXTBOOKS TO USE:
Burkholder, Rankin, and Johnson: Exploitation, Inequality, and Resistance
Chasteen, Born In Blood and Fire: Latin American Voices (2nd edition)
Mills, et al., Colonial Latin America: A Documentary History (2nd edition)
Students should use this prompt to launch their efforts:
Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca was, at the start of the Florida expedition, a typical conquistador. As a result of his unique and extended experience traveling across North America, his views of the Americans and what the Europeans should do in the “New World” differed from those of typical conquistadores greatly.
Structure your evaluation of this prompt as follows.
First, select three passages that you think provide a clear depiction of Núñez’s ideals, views, ambitions, and/or desires that effectively define him as a man of rank and authority among the Spanish present on voyages of exploration and conquest. These should come from a range of sections that demonstrate his views at the start, during, and at the end of his travels. For each passage, briefly describe them and explain how it represents Núñez’s position, opinion, and/or concerns. Do not quote the passages. Cite them (source, page #).
Second, briefly explain how you think Núñez would react to the prompt. Cite examples from his book that support your position.
Third, compare Núñez and his shifting or core views and values with those of other Spaniards whose opinions and views appear in the Latin American Voices reader, the Mills reader, or the Burkholder textbook. How are they similar and how do they vary? Compare Núñez to at least three other Spaniards.
Finally, return to the prompt. Is it correct? Justify your position through reflections on the evidence and examples that you have presented in the other parts of your essay.
Your essay should reach 800 to 1,000 words. You may write more.
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