Topic: Health & MedicineSurgery

Last updated: February 18, 2019

On 1527, 600 settlers sailed to the Americas to set up provinces on the Northern shores of Mexico. The expedition was led by the spanish conquistador Cabeza de Vaca. There was much hope in residing in this fruitful land but the trip did not go as arranged the expedition suffered greatly and all but 3 men and Cabeza survived.In the wake of living among the local Native Americans for a 6 years, and 2 years as a slave Cabeza de Vaca and the three survivors traveled west and afterward south to Mexico City, wanting to restore contact with their compatriots. When examining the journey of Cabeza de Vaca there are different arguments on how he survived. Native Americans had land that was organized into dozens of groups, spoke more than half a dozen different languages, had diverse belief systems, and lived in homelands with distinctive food resources than Europe. Cabeza de Vaca survived by having emitible wilderness skills, having the ability to heal Native Americans and the respect he had from Native Americans.Cabeza de Vaca consistently proved his amazing wilderness skills, he survived throw harsh and foreign landscapes and a shipwreck that of 600 settlers only 4 survived.

Cabeza had a keen ability in finding fresh water and food(DOCB) He faced the problem of thirst in the rafts but with ingenuity he ” hollowed-out horse-leg containers” and drank from them. In another occasion when he was a slave and had little available to him Cabeza resourcefully found and ate “berries, mollusks, rats, roots, lizards, snakes, and spiders.” and he also willingly ate it.

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(DOCB) Cabeza when faces with cold conditions was able to successfully keep himself warm. He did this by digging a hole and surrounding it by with fire.(DOCB) Cabeza was also quick to learn languages knowing 5.(DOCB) Learning the same language was crucial to communicate with Native Americans, in turn it helped him avoid unpleasant situations, get directions, find food and water and make relations.

Cabezas wilderness skills helped him survive the rough 8 year journey. He was despicably able to survive through harsh weather, deal with periodic hunger, deal with thirst communicate with and befriend the Native Americans. Cabeza’s healing ability was reputable and it gave him a safe passage across the Americas. Native Americans were not familiar with what may be surgery and the precedent event described in DOC C was something like a miracle to them.

It was respectable and admirable. Cabeza took a knife to cut out a arrow point that was lodged in a Native Americans chest. The man survived and Cabeza gained a reputation. Afterwards Native Americans began to escort Cabeza in his journey. He wrote on this ” And this cure gave us a very great reputation among them throughout the whole land”(DOC C) The ability to heal helped Cabeza survive in light of the fact that they were viewed as divine beings.

They were given sustenance and aided on their route. Without the ability to heal, Cabeza would not have been protected. The healing in turn also gave him confidence which gave him strength to survive.


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