Spanish explorer Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca first set foot on land that would become Texas in 1528, when his crude raft ran aground near Galveston Island. The raft held survivors of an ill-fated Spanish expedition to settle Florida.

Cabeza de Vaca then embarked upon what one scholar described as "the most remarkable [journey] in the record of American exploration."

In 1542, he published an account of his adventures, the Relación, the first literary work with Texas as its subject. This remarkable book about the region's people, landscape, flora, and fauna is now considered a "cornerstone of the history of the Spanish Southwest." More»

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Painting of Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca on a postage stamp. Image courtesy of the State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory.