Panfilo De Narvaez - Encyclopedia

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PANFILO DE NARVAEZ (c. 1480-1528), Spanish adventurer, was an hidalgo of Castile, born at Valladolid about 1470. He was one of the subordinates of Velazquez in the reduction of Cuba, and, after having held various posts under his governorship, was put at the head of the force sent to the Aztec coast to compel Cortes to renounce his command; he was surprised and defeated, however, by his abler and more active compatriot at Cempoalla, and made prisoner with the loss of an eye (1520). After his return to Spain he obtained from Charles V. a grant of Florida as far as the River of Palms; sailing in 1527 with five ships and a force of about 600 men, he landed, probably near Pensacola Bay, in April 1528, and, striking inland with some 310 of his followers, reached "Apalache" on June 25. The prospects of fabulous wealth which had sustained them in their difficult and perilous journey having proved illusory a return to the coast was determined, and the Bahia de los Caballos, at or near St Mark's, was reached in the following month. Having built rude boats, the much-reduced company sailed hence for Mexico on September 22, but the vessel which carried Narvaez was driven to sea in a storm and perished. His lieutenant, Cabeza de Vaca, with three others who ultimately reached land, made his way across Texas to the Gulf of California. (See Florida.) See Prescott, Conquest of Mexico; H. H. Bancroft, Mexico (1882-1890); and the Naufragio of Alvaro Nunez Cabeza de Vaca in the Biblioteca of Rivadeneyra, xxii.

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