Southwestern Historical Quarterly
THE EXPEDITION OF PANFILO DE NARVAEZ
GONZALO FERNANDEZ OVIEDO Y VALDEZ
EDITED BY HARBERT DAVENPORT
Intensive study of the literature of the Narvaez expedition, and
the journey of its survivors across the continent, has convinced
the present writer that the terse and vigorous narrative and en-
lightening comment of Gonzalo Fernandez Oviedo y Valdez, and
the forceful and interesting personality of Andr6s Dorantes, de-
serve to be known by the inhabitants of the land of which Oviedo
was the earliest historian and Dorantes the first explorer.
To this end is offered the first complete English version of the
account of the Narvaez expedition that was incorporated by Oviedo
in his Historia General y Natural de las Indias, first published
as Book XXXV of the third edition of that New World chronicle
at Salamanca in 1547. The first six chapters were taken by the
author rather literally, it seems, from an official report received
from the Narvdez survivors in 1539 by the Real Audiencia of
Santo Domingo, while Chapter VII was taken from the first edi-
tion of Cabeza de Vaca's Naufrigios, published at Zamora in
1542, after Oviedo had, in 1547, interviewed its author at the
royal court at Madrid.
The translation here presented is a by-product of a study of
the adventures of the Narvaez survivors in Texas, the results of
which were published in THE QUARTERLY for October, 1919, and
January, 1920.2 It was made from Tomo III, pages 582-618, of
the edition of Oviedo's Historia General y Natural de las Indias,
'No complete English version has heretofore been published. A condensed
translation by Buckingham Smith was printed in Historical Magazine,
XII, 141, 204, 267, 347, September-December, 1867. Considerable excerpts
are quoted by Buckingham Smith, Bandelier, James Newton Baskett and
Harbert Davenport and Joseph K. Wells, in various published studies of
the journey of the Cabeza de Vaca and his companions.
'Harbert Davenport and Joseph K. Wells, "The First Europeans in Texas,
1528-1536." THE QUARTERLY, XXII, 111-143, 205-259.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 27, July 1923 - April, 1924. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101086/. Accessed March 3, 2015.