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Cabeza de Vaca

En España, hoy es sábado el 23 de septiembre de 2017.
Quien no se aventura no pasa la mar

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Información del fondo:

This film is based upon actual events which took place between 1527-1536. Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca was the treasurer on a Spanish expedition in which many of the ships and and as many as 600 men were lost off the coast of Florida in 1527. Most of the men were lost inland within Florida, when, against the recommendation of Cabeza de Vaca, captain Narváez ordered the men ashore to search for the golden city of El Dorado. Others were lost later when they were shipwrecked again after building rafts and attempting to follow along the Caribbean coast in an effort to reach settlements in Mexico. The film begins as a portion of the men who survived the initial wrecks land somewhere near what is now Galveston Island, Texas. Over the course of the next 8 years, a small group made their way across the American continent to meet with the Spanish settlements on the Pacific coast.

Cabeza de Vaca wrote of their experiences in a memoir initially entitled Relación and later re-published as Naufragios. The film is based upon this document.

The character Estebanico, portrayed in the film by a black actor, was a Moorish slave on the expedition, and as such as the first black on the north american continent. He was well respected and well treated by his shipmates during their travels, but was returned to slavery once they arrived back in Spanish settlements. In the film you will see cross himself (a catholic tradition), an indication that he had converted to Christianity.

Cabeza de Vaca’s transformation into a shaman and healer is a major aspect of the film. The transformation begins after Cabeza de Vaca recites a famous poem Romance de Abenámar (see Wikipedia article about the poem) and his Shaman captors come to realize his humanity. The native population believed that the Spanish must be healers given that they could “speak in tongues” and had great spiritual power. Cabeza de Vaca became an accomplished healer while simultaneously working to introduce catholicism to the native population. In the film, his initial captors ultimately release him after they come to realize that his is, in fact, a human being (rather than an animal), as well as a healer equal to the witch doctor captor.

Cabeza de Vaca learned 6-8 native american languages during his 8 year stay on the continent, and continued to advocate for the good treatment of the native americans long after his return to Spain.

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Vocabulario

Español Equivalente
Malacosa el enano, compañero del hechicero, “evil thing”
tesorero treasurer
hechicero shaman, witchdoctor
hechicería witchcraft, black magic
naufragio castaway, shipwrecked
Capitán Narváez Captain of the expedition
punta de flecha arrowhead
Esteban the moor member of the expedition
sobreviviente survivor
gigante giant
caníbal, caníbales cannibal, cannibals
cruz cross
curar to cure
morir to die
bastón walking stick
soltar to let go, to release
balsa raft
enemigo enemy
emborrachar to become drunk
atar to tie up
desatar to untie
bala bullet
Araino (Cascabel) young man saved by Cabeza de Vaca
acabar to end

Preguntas de comprensión

  1. ¿Cómo se llamaba el capitán de la expedición?
  2. Cabeza de Vaca llegó por balsa a una isla que hoy forma parte de un estado de los EEUU. En qué estado llegaron inicialmente?
  3. Después de estar captado, ¿quién compró a Cabeza de Vaca como esclavo? ¿Qué profesión ejercía?
  4. ¿Sus captores se dieron cuenta de algo después de su intento de escaparse con respecto a Cabeza de Vaca? ¿Qué se dieron cuenta?
  5. Relata lo que pasó con el gigante.
  6. ¿Por qué le dejaron irse a Cabeza de Vaca sus captores?
  7. ¿Por qué insistió Cabeza de Vaca que el indio joven y sus compañeros se fueran de él después del descubrimiento de la bala española que mató a un indio?
  8. ¿Cuánto tiempo hacía que Cabeza de Vaca se quedó en las Américas?