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Cabeza de Vaca

Our research on Discoveries and on the Origins of the Novel has led us to look at texts describing the Spaniards’ early encounters with the New World, from Columbus’s Diary of the First Voyage in 1492 to descriptions written by subsequent generations well into the sixteenth century.

Robert Goodwin has made a particular study of the explorer Cabeza de Vaca, the first European to cross what is now the southern United States, and the account that survives of his journey. This site includes an outline biography of Cabeza de Vaca and transcriptions of some of the documents on which Dr Goodwin has worked.

In 2003, Dr Goodwin was awarded a British Academy grant to search for further primary documentary evidence in the Archivo General de Indias, in Seville. This has drawn attention to a significant number of documents (about twenty in 2004) which have not apparently been cited in this context before. At present, we are in the process of transcribing and translating these documents so as to make them available to as broad a public as possible.

See Robert Goodwin's work on Cabeza de Vaca.

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