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Pánfilo de Narváez (1470 or 1478 - 1528) was a Spanish conquistador and soldier in the Americas. Born in Spain, he first embarked to Jamaica in 1510 as a soldier. He came to participate in the conquest of Cuba and led an expedition to Camagüey escorting Bartolomé de las Casas.

He is most remembered as the leader of two failed expeditions: In 1520 he was sent to Mexico by the Governor of Cuba Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar, with the objective of stopping the invasion by Hernán Cortés which had not been authorized by the Governor. Even though his 900 men outmanned those of Cortés 3 to 1, Narváez was outmaneuvered, lost an eye and was taken prisoner. After a couple of years in captivity in Mexico he returned to Spain where King Carlos V named him adelantado, with the mission of exploring and colonizing La Florida.

In 1527 Narváez embarked from Spain with five ships and 600 men, among them Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca who later described the expedition in his publication, the Relación in 1542 and again in 1555. A storm south of Cuba wrecked several of the ships. The rest of the expedition left Cuba in February, 1528 with the intended destination of the Rio de las Palmas, near present-day Tampico, Mexico. The ships first ran aground and then while trying to reach Havana to re-supply were driven north to the west coast of Florida, landing in Boca Ciega Bay, north of the main entrance to Tampa Bay.

Finding their landing place unsuitable for settlement, Narváez ordered that the expedition be split, with 100 men and 10 women aboard ships, and 300 men and 42 horses traveling by land. Their plan was to travel a short distance north and rejoin at a large harbor that his pilots had said would be "impossible to miss". There was no large harbor to the north, and the land expedition and those aboard the ships did not meet again. The land-based expedition worked their way northward along the U.S. Gulf Coast trying to get to the province of Pánuco on the gulf coast of Mexico.

They reached present-day St. Marks River, approximately 300 miles north of their original landing site. Narváez ordered that boats be built, and the 250 survivors set sail westward along the Gulf Coast, hoping to reach Pánuco. A storm drowned most of the expedition near Galveston Island, and about 80 were swept ashore. Narváez and a small group of men were carried out to sea on a raft and were not seen again.

During the next 6 years all but four of the 80 who had been swept ashore perished. Only four men, three Spaniards and an enslaved man from Morocco, survived the Narváez expedition, walking across Texas and Northern Mexico. Some historians say their travels took them as far north as New Mexico. They encountered other Spaniards near Sinaloa, Mexico, in 1536, then travelled to Mexico City, arriving on July 25, 1536. One of the survivors, Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, returned to Spain, and in 1542 published the first book describing the people, animals, flora and fauna of inland North America in the Relacíon published in 1542 and again in 1555....
 
 
Pánfilo de Narváez (1470 or 1478 - 1528) was a Spanish conquistador and soldier in the Americas. Born in Spain, he first embarked to Jamaica in 1510 as a soldier. He came to participate in the conquest of Cuba and led an expedition to Camagüey escorting Bartolomé de las Casas.

He is most remembered as the leader of two failed expeditions: In 1520 he was sent to Mexico by the Governor of Cuba Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar, with the objective of stopping the invasion by Hernán Cortés which had not been authorized by the Governor. Even though his 900 men outmanned those of Cortés 3 to 1, Narváez was outmaneuvered, lost an eye and was taken prisoner. After a couple of years in captivity in Mexico he returned to Spain where King Carlos V named him adelantado, with the mission of exploring and colonizing La Florida.

In 1527 Narváez embarked from Spain with five ships and 600 men, among them Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca who later described the expedition in his publication, the Relación in 1542 and again in 1555. A storm south of Cuba wrecked several of the ships. The rest of the expedition left Cuba in February, 1528 with the intended destination of the Rio de las Palmas, near present-day Tampico, Mexico. The ships first ran aground and then while trying to reach Havana to re-supply were driven north to the west coast of Florida, landing in Boca Ciega Bay, north of the main entrance to Tampa Bay.

Finding their landing place unsuitable for settlement, Narváez ordered that the expedition be split, with 100 men and 10 women aboard ships, and 300 men and 42 horses traveling by land. Their plan was to travel a short distance north and rejoin at a large harbor that his pilots had said would be "impossible to miss". There was no large harbor to the north, and the land expedition and those aboard the ships did not meet again. The land-based expedition worked their way northward along the U.S. Gulf Coast trying to get to the province of Pánuco on the gulf coast of Mexico.

They reached present-day St. Marks River, approximately 300 miles north of their original landing site. Narváez ordered that boats be built, and the 250 survivors set sail westward along the Gulf Coast, hoping to reach Pánuco. A storm drowned most of the expedition near Galveston Island, and about 80 were swept ashore. Narváez and a small group of men were carried out to sea on a raft and were not seen again.

During the next 6 years all but four of the 80 who had been swept ashore perished. Only four men, three Spaniards and an enslaved man from Morocco, survived the Narváez expedition, walking across Texas and Northern Mexico. Some historians say their travels took them as far north as New Mexico. They encountered other Spaniards near Sinaloa, Mexico, in 1536, then travelled to Mexico City, arriving on July 25, 1536. One of the survivors, Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, returned to Spain, and in 1542 published the first book describing the people, animals, flora and fauna of inland North America in the Relacíon published in 1542 and again in 1555....

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