The life of Cabeza de Vaca

Your task is to analyze the choice of de Vaca to become a conquistador, trader, and healer while living among the Native Americans of Texas and Mexico. Please focus on the consequences of that choice, his transformation over time, and how it impacted him as well as his companions.

As Cabeza de Vaca’s role begins to shift from conqueror of the Native American groups to depend upon their goodwill or lack thereof, his attitude toward the local populations begins to shift. Consider Cabeza de Vaca’s transformation from a strictly colonial mindset to that of a more hybrid mentality while living among “the other.”

The theme of transformation and conversion, both individual and collective, is present throughout his journey. The story of Cabeza de Vaca is an example of a subjective historical experience. That means there are many interpretations of the story. Your essay will be critiqued upon your ability to explain the consequences of his choices. What other options did he have? Did his decision resolve his dilemma as a shipwrecked Spaniard who came to the New World seeking fame and fortune? How did his choices and circumstances while living among Native Americans affect him once he returned to Spanish society? What impact did his decisions have upon him and the place of Cabeza de Vaca in history?

This assignment is designed to satisfy the following Core requirements and learning outcomes. Through a well-written assignment, students will:

Identify/Explain a crucial decision made by a Texas leader or representative body and describe options for resolving that dilemma
Describe/Discuss consequences that evolved from the choice.
Describe/Discuss the impact of this decision across the historical, social, political, economic, cultural, and global forces on Texas history.
Assess/Evaluate whether the decision made and actions taken resolved the initial dilemma, or if additional predictable or unforeseen consequences resulting from this decision could have been avoided or improved upon.

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