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Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca Healer Mystic And Early Explorer Of The Americas


Image Of Freddy Crystals Cave Opening, in Kanab Utah

Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca Healer Mystic And Early Explorer Of The Americas

Alvar Nunez Cabeza De Vaca Is One Of The Great Figures In American History, Cabeza De Vaca Became A Great Mystic, Astronomer, Navigator, Explorer And Healer. Cabeza De Vaca Learned Much From His Soon To Be Best Friend’s And Teacher’s, Estebanico The Black And The Native Americans Whom He Would Come To Respect And Love As His Own Family.  Raymond Dillman Is The First And Only Treasure Hunter And Researcher To Theorize, That It Was Estebanico And Cabeza De Vaca Who Authored The Peralta Stone Tablets, And It Is Our “The Dillman Family’s”, Belief That Cabeza De Vaca, And Estebanico Were Planning To Reunite In 1540’s, To Unearth Portions Of Montezuma’s Treasure And The Seven Cities Of Gold, To Create A New Kingdom For And Of The Native Americans , To Reclaim The Americas From The Spanish And Restore Unity And Peace In The Sacred Lands.

Cabeza De Vaca Wrote About His Journeys And Exploits In A Journal, A Book Called The Relacion, This Book Contains The Stories And Experience Of Cabeza De Vaca And Estebanico. Though This Book Provides Great Insight, What It Does Not Say Holds Even Greater Value, That Many Scholars Don’t Seem To Glean.

Álvar Nunez Cabeza De Vaca

Álvar Nunez Cabeza De Vaca Was Born Around 1490 In The Castilian Town Of Jerez De La Frontera, Cádiz. His Father, Francisco De Vera Was A Hidalgo, A Rank Of Minor Spanish Nobility. His Mother Was Teresa Cabeza De Vaca, Also From AHidalgoFamily. He Was Named After His Mother's Great-Grandfather, Álvar Nunez Cabeza De Vaca, But The Real Influence In His Life Was His Paternal Grandfather, Pedro De Vera.

Pedro De Vera Was Described By Contemporaries As An Expert In Fighting Battles On Land And Sea. He Led Raids Against The Moors In North Africa And In 1483 Completed The Conquest Of Grand Canaria, One Of The Major Islands Of The Canaries. He Was Appointed Military Governor Of The Island And Used His Position To Capture Canary Natives (Guanches) And Sell Them As Slaves In Spain. When Natives On The Neighboring Island Of Gomera Revolted, He Brutally Put Down The Rebellion, Killing Males Over The Age Of Fifteen And Selling The Women And Children Into Slavery. He Was Heavily Fined For His Actions And Recalled To Castile In 1490. Cabeza De Vaca Would Have Heard Of These Exploits Growing Up; Many Years Later He Named A Province In South America, Vera, In Honor Of His Grandfather. 

Cabeza De Vaca's Father And Grandfather Died Around 1506 And His Mother Died In 1509, Leaving Behind A Modest Estate For Her Seven Children. His Younger Siblings Went To Live With Their Aunt But Álvar Had Already Entered The Service OfJuan Alfonso Pérez De Guzmán, 3rd Duke Of Medina Sidonia In 1503. 

The House Of Medina Sidonia Was One Of The Most Powerful In Castile And Was A Dominant Force In Seville, The Commercial Center Of Spain's Growing Overseas Empire. Cabeza De Vaca Served As A Page And Then Chamberlain For The Duke. In 1511 He Traveled To Italy To Fight Against The French. 

In February 1512 He Took Part In The Battle Of Ravenna Where The Spanish Were Badly Defeated And Cabeza De Vaca Was Wounded. He Later Served As The Royal Standard-Bearer In Gaeta, Near Naples. 

In 1513 He Returned To Spain, Still In The Service Of Medina Sidonia. At Some Point He Married María Marmolejo, Member Of A Prominent Converso Family In Seville. When TheRevolt Of The Comuneros Broke Out In 1520 Against The New Spanish King,Charles V, Cabeza De Vaca Fought Alongside The Duke On Behalf Of The Crown.

When The Comuneros Tried Unsuccessfully To Seize Control In Seville In September, The Duke Put Him In Charge Of Defending One Of The City Gates; In December He Fought To Liberate The City Of Tordesillas; And On 23 April 1521 He Participated In The Defeat Of The Comuneros At Villalar. 

Later In 1521 When The French King,Francis I, Invaded Navarre, Cabeza De Vaca Fought Against Them In The Battle Of Puente De La Reina. 

In 1527, Cabeza De Vaca Appeared At The Royal Court InValladolidAnd Received An Appointment As Royal Treasurer For An Expedition To Be Led By Conquistador Pánfilo De Narváez To Explore And ConquerLa Florida, A Portion Of North America Roughly Comprising Today's Southeastern United States. The Reasons For His Selection Are Not Known But His History Of Loyal Military Service To The Crown Was Certainly A Critical Qualification. He Also Had A Relative, Luis Cabeza De Vaca, Serving On The All-ImportantCouncil Of The Indies. 

The Narváez Expedition

On December 11, 1526, Charles V Commissioned Pánfilo De Narváez To Explore, Conquer And Settle A Portion Of North America Called La Florida, A Territory Vaguely Described As Stretching Along The Gulf Coast From Mexico To Florida. Cabeza De Vaca Was Named Treasurer By Royal Appointment, A Position That Put Him Second In Command And Made Him Chiefly Responsible To Look After The Emperor's Interests During The Expedition. He Was Promised An Annual Salary Of 130.000 Maravedies, Payable Upon His Return. Their Fleet Of Five Vessels Set Sail From Spain On June 17, 1527, Carrying 600 Soldiers And Colonists, Including A Few Married Women And African Slaves.

When They Stopped In Hispaniola For Supplies, Narváez Lost Approximately 150 Of His Men, Who Chose To Stay Behind Rather Than Continue With The Expedition. They Spent Forty-Five Days On The Island Re-Provisioning The Fleet And Constructing A Sixth Ship. They Were Especially Anxious To Acquire Horses, But There Was A Shortage Of Them In Hispaniola, So The Expedition Continued To Cuba, Where They Hoped To Recruit More Men And Buy Horses. Narváez Anchored At Santiago De Cuba And Ordered Cabeza De Vaca To Take Two Ships And Proceed Further Up The Coast To Pick Up Additional Provisions At Trinidad. In October, While Cabeza De Vaca Was Ashore Negotiating For Supplies, A Hurricane Hit The Coast, Resulting In The Destruction Of Both Ships And The Loss Of Sixty Men And Twenty Horses. Narváez Arrived In Early November To Pick Up The Survivors. Fearful Of Encountering Another Storm, Narváez Decided To Wait Out The Winter In Cuba. The Four Remaining Ships Anchored In The Bay Of Jagua Under The Command Of Cabeza De Vaca.

While Cabeza De Vaca Watched Over The Ships And Crew, Narváez Remained On Shore To Find Replacements For The Lost Ships And Hire More Men. 

In February 1528, He Returned To The Bay Of Jagua With One Additional Ship And Another One Waiting For Them In Havana. They Resumed Their Expedition To La Florida With The Intention Of First Stopping In Havana To Pick Up The Final Ship And More Supplies. Before Reaching Havana However, They Were Hit By Another Storm And Blown Off Course Into The Gulf Of Mexico. Short Of Supplies And Fresh Water, They Decided To Push On Toward Florida Rather Than Try To Get Back To Cuba. In April They Sighted Land, Anchored And Went Ashore. Although The Location Of Their Landing Has Been Much Debated, More Recent Opinion Leans Toward The Vicinity Of Tampa Bay.

During A Quick Reconnaissance Of The Area, They Came Upon A Few Small Villages Of Indians Belonging To The Safety Harbor Culture. Communicating With Them Through Sign Language, The Spanish Were Informed That A Community Or Region Called Apalachee Lay To The North And Was Rich With Food And Gold. Cabeza De Vaca Later Noted That Whenever Narváez Expressed Interest In Something, The Indians Assured Him It Could Be Found In Great Quantities At Apalachee. As A Result, Narváez Was Determined To Lead A Force North Into The Interior To Find This Rich Country.

Despite Strong Objections From Cabeza De Vaca, Narváez Decided To Split His Expedition. He Would Lead Some 300 Men And 42 Horses’ Overland To Apalachee While The Remaining Crew, Including The Women, Would Sail Ahead To Find A Suitable Harbor And Wait Their Return. Cabeza De Vaca Protested That Dividing Their Forces Would Put Both Groups In Danger Without Any Certainty That They Would Be Able To Find Each Other Again. He Advised That Everyone Remain With The Ships Until A Suitable Harbor Could Be Found To Serve As Their Base Camp. Narváez Ignored His Advice And Suggested That If Cabeza De Vaca Was Afraid, He Should Stay With The Ships. Cabeza De Vaca Rejected The Suggestion Of Cowardice And Participated In The Overland March. He Later Wrote, "I Preferred Risking My Life To Placing My Honor In Jeopardy."

Apalachee Had No Gold But Had Only Corn, But The Explorers Were Told A Village Known As Aute, About 5 Or 9 Days Away, Was Rich. They Pushed On Through The Swamps, Harassed By The Native Americans. A Few Spanish Men Were Killed And More Wounded. When They Arrived In Aute, They Found That The Inhabitants Had Burned Down The Village And Left. But The Fields Had Not Been Harvested, So At Least The Spanish Scavenged Food There. After Several Months Of Fighting Native Inhabitants Through Wilderness And Swamp, The Party Decided To Abandon The Interior And Try To Reach Pánuco.

Slaughtering And Eating Their Remaining Horses, They Gathered The Stirrups, Spurs, Horseshoes And Other Metal Items. They Fashioned A Bellows From Deer Hide To Make A Fire Hot Enough To Forge Tools And Nails. They Used These In Making Five Primitive Boats To Use To Get To Mexico. Cabeza De Vaca Commanded One Of These Vessels, Each Of Which Held 50 Men. Depleted Of Food And Water, The Men Followed The Coast Westward. But When They Reached The Mouth Of The Mississippi River, The Powerful Current Swept Them Out Into The Gulf, Where The Five Rafts Were Separated By A Hurricane. Some Lives Were Lost Forever, Including That Of Narváez.

Two Crafts With About 40 Survivors Each, Including Cabeza De Vaca, Wrecked On Or Near Galveston Island (Now Part Of Texas). Of The 80 Or So Survivors, Only 15 Lived Past That Winter. The Explorers Called The Island Malhado (“Ill Fated” In Spanish), Or The Island Of Doom. They Tried To Repair The Rafts, Using What Remained Of Their Own Clothes As Oakum To Plug Holes, But They Lost The Rafts To A Large Wave.

As The Number Of Survivors Dwindled Rapidly, They Were Enslaved For A Few Years By Various American Indian Tribes Of The Upper Gulf Coast. Because Cabeza De Vaca Survived And Prospered From Time To Time, Some Scholars Argue That He Was Not Enslaved But Using A Figure Of Speech. He And Other Noblemen Were Accustomed To Better Living. They’re Encounters With Harsh Conditions And Weather, And Being Required To Work Like Native Women, Must Have Seemed Like Slavery. The Tribes To Which Cabeza De Vaca Was Enslaved Included The Hans And The Capoques, And Tribes Later Called The Karankawa And Coahuiltecan. After Escaping, Only Four Men, Cabeza De Vaca, Andrés Dorantes De Carranza, Alonso Del Castillo Maldonado, And An African Slave Of Dorantes, Identified In The Relación Of Álvar Nunez Cabeza De Vaca As "Estebanico The Black, He Is An Arabic-Speaking Black Man, A Native Of Azamor".

Traveling Mostly With This Small Group, Cabeza De Vaca Explored What Is Now The U.S. State Of Texas, As Well As The Northeastern Mexican States Of Tamaulipas, Nuevo León And Coahuila, And Most Scholars Agrees Possibly Smaller Portions Of New Mexico And Arizona, But My Grandfather Raymond Dillman Is Absolutely Convinced That Cabeza De Vaca And Estebanico Definitely Traveled At Minimum To The Four Corners Area Of Utah, Arizona And New Mexico, But They Could Have Made Even Further Into . He Traveled On Foot Through The Then Colonized Territories Of Texas And The Coast. He Continued Through Coahuila And Nueva Vizcaya (Present-Day States Of Chihuahua And Durango); Then Down The Gulf Of California Coast To What Is Now Sinaloa, Mexico, Over A Period Of Roughly Eight Years. Throughout Those Years, Cabeza De Vaca And The Other Men Adapted To The Lives Of The Indigenous People They Stayed With, Whom He Later Described As Roots People, The Fish And Blackberry People, Or The Fig People, Depending On Their Principal Foods.

During His Wanderings, Passing From Tribe To Tribe, Cabeza De Vaca Later Reported That He Developed Sympathies For The Indigenous Peoples. He Became A Trader And A Healer, Which Gave Him Some Freedom To Travel Among The Tribes. As A Healer, Cabeza De Vaca Used Blowing (Like The Native Americans) To Heal But Claimed That God And The Christian Cross Led To His Success, Cabeza De Vaca Learned Quickly From Estebanico And Followed His Lead In The Ways Of Healing. His Healing Of The Sick Gained Him A Reputation As A Faith Healer. Cabeza De Vaca And Estebanico Attracted Numerous Native Followers, Who Regarded Them As "Children Of The Sun", Endowed With The Power To Heal And Destroy. 

As Cabeza De Vaca Grew Healthier, He Decided That He Would Make His Way To Pánuco, Supporting Himself Through Trading. He Finally Decided To Try To Reach The Spanish Colony In Mexico. Many Natives Were Said To Accompany The Explorers On Their Journey Across What Is Now Known As The American Southwest And Northern Mexico.

After Finally Reaching The Colonized Lands Of New Spain, Where He First Encountered Fellow Spaniards Near Modern-Day Culiacan, Cabeza De Vaca, Estebanico And The Other Two Men Reached Mexico City. From There Cabeza De Vaca Sailed Back To Europe In 1537.

Numerous Researchers Have Tried To Trace His Route Across The Southwest And They Theorize That Since He Did Not Begin Writing His Chronicle Until He Was Back In Spain, That Cabeza De Vaca Had To Rely On His Memory. Researchers Generally Claim That He Did Not Have The Instruments (Clock And Astrolabe) To Determine His Location And That He Had To Rely On Reckoning And Was Uncertain Of His Route, But This Just Isn’t True Cabeza De Vaca Knew How To Navigate Using The Stars, Now Whether He Learned This As A Child Or If He Learned It From Estebanico, For Us The Dillman Family We Are Convinced He Knew Where He Went And He Documented It. But Cabeza De Vaca Wasn’t Going To Be Revealing That Information To Any Of His Peers In Spain. Cabeza De Vaca Had Been Changed By His Experience, He Had Lived With The Natives Learned Their Cultures And Shared In Their Reverence For The Sacredness Of The Land And People. Cabeza De Vaca And Estebanico Formed A Plan Together To Return To The Americas And Help Their Native American Friends, They No Longer Wished To Be Puppets Of The Spanish Empire And They Now Had The Knowledge And Resources To Help The Natives And Themselves Become Free Spirits In The Colorful Sacred Lands.  I Will Be Updating This Article In The Future That Will Lay Out For All, The Facts And Evidence That My Grandfather Raymond Dillman And I Have Pieced Together To Prove Our Theory.

Return To America

In 1540, Cabeza De Vaca Was Appointed Adelantado Of The Río De La Plata In South America. The Colony Comprised Parts Of What Is Now Argentina, Paraguay, And Uruguay. Cabeza De Vaca Was Assigned To Find A Usable Route From This Colony To The Colony In Peru, On The Other Side Of The Andes Mountains On The Pacific Coast.

A Plaque Commemorating Cabeza De Vaca As The First European To See The Iguazu Falls En Route, He Disembarked From His Fleet At Santa Catarina Island In Modern Brazil. With An Indigenous Force, Plus 250 Musketeers And 26 Horses, He Followed Native Trails Discovered By Aleixo Garcia Overland To The District's Spanish Capital, Asunción, Far Inland On The Great Paraguay River. Cabeza De Vaca Is Thought To Have Been The First European To See The Iguaçu Falls.

In March 1542, Cabeza De Vaca Met With Domingo Martínez De Irala And Relieved Him Of His Position As Governor. The Government Of Asunción Pledged Loyalty To Cabeza De Vaca, And Irala Was Assigned To Explore A Possible Route To Peru. Once Irala Returned And Reported, Cabeza De Vaca Planned His Own Expedition. He Hoped To Reach Los Reyes (A Base That Irala Set Up) And Push Forward Into The Jungle In Search Of A Route To The Gold And Silver Mines Of Peru. The Expedition Did Not Go Well, And Cabeza De Vaca Returned To Asunción.

Treason In The Americas

During His Absence, Irala Had Stirred Up Resistance To Cabeza De Vaca's Rule And Capitalized On Political Rivalries. Scholars Widely Agree That Cabeza De Vaca Had An Unusually Sympathetic Attitude Towards The Native Americans For His Time. The Elite Settlers In Modern Argentina, Known As Encomenderos, Generally Did Not Agree With His Enlightened Conduct Toward The Natives; They Wanted To Use Them For Labor. Because Cabeza De Vaca Lost Elite Support, And Buenos Aires Was Failing As A Settlement, Not Attracting Enough Residents, Martínez De Irala Arrested Cabeza De Vaca In 1544 For Treason And Claimed That Cabeza De Vaca Was Plotting Against The Crown Making His Own Coat Of Arms And That He Was Planning To Usurp The Spanish Government In The America’s. 

My Grandfather Raymond Dillman Did Not Believe That Cabeza De Vaca Was Telling The Complete Truth In His Memoirs. We Believe He Purposefully Left Out The Facts Of The Seven Cities Of Gold And All The Other Reports Of The Vast Treasure Locations That He And Estebanico Had Seen And Were Aware Of Throughout Their Travels Of The Americas. It Is Our Absolute Belief That Cabeza De Vaca Was Planning All That He Was Accused Of, But Not For Self-Gain, But For The Pursuit Of Freedom For Himself, Estebanico, The Natives And All Other Serfs Of The Spanish Government. So, In This Unfortunate Twist Of Fate The Former Explorer Cabeza De Vaca Was Returned To Spain In 1545 For Trial.

Although Cabeza De Vaca Was Eventually Exonerated By The King, Cabeza De Vaca Was Never Allowed To Return To The America’s. He Wrote An Extensive Report On The Río De La Plata Colony In South America, Strongly Criticizing The Conduct Of Martínez De Irala. The Report Was Bound With His Earlier La Relación And Published Under The Title Comentarios (Commentary). He Died In Seville Around The Year 1560.

As I Stated Earlier I Will Be Updating This Article That Will Lay Out For All, The Facts And Evidence That My Grandfather Raymond Dillman, John Dillman, Paul Dillman, Myself And My Family Have Pieced Together To Prove Our Theory That Cabeza De Vaca And Estebanico Were Planning To Free The Americas And All Of Its Inhabitants From The Greedy Blood Thirsty Conquistador’s And That They Would Be Using The Great Riches And Treasures Of Montezuma, The Aztecs, The Inca And The Maya That Are Hidden In The Sacred Mountains And Lands Of The Four Corners Area Of The Americas. 

Last Updated 02/22/2021

Copyright Dan Dillman For The Dillman Family 1964-2021