Narváez, Pánfilo de (c. 1478–1528)

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Narváez, Pánfilo de (c. 1478–1528)

Pánfilo de Narváez (b. ca. 1478/80; d. 1528), Spanish soldier. Born in Valmanzano, Segovia, Spain, Narváez came to the New World around 1498. A veteran of military engagements in Jamaica, he helped to lead the bloody conquest of Cuba in 1510–1514. In 1520 he vied with Hernán Cortés in Veracruz for the opportunity to raid portions of Mexico. He lost, and was imprisoned for two and a half years.

In 1526 Narváez received a royal contract to explore La Florida. After landing near Tampa Bay in April 1528, he and three hundred men marched north to Apalachee, where they suffered illness and were attacked by natives. Retreating, they moved to the nearby coast to build vessels in which they could sail to Mexico. The Spaniards tried to follow the coastline west but were either swept out into the Gulf or washed ashore, where some lived among native groups. Four survivors, including Alvar Núñez Cabeza De Vaca, who wrote an account of the expedition, eventually walked westward nearly to the Pacific Ocean and were rescued near the Río Yaqui in 1536.

See alsoCabeza de Vaca, Alvar Núñez; Cortés, Hernán; Explorers and Exploration: Spanish America.


Alvar Núñez Cabeza De Vaca, The Journey of Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca and His Companions from Florida to the Pacific, 1528–1536 (1905, repr. 1964).

Morris Bishop, The Odyssey of Cabeza de Vaca (1933).

Robert S. Weddle, Spanish Sea: The Gulf of Mexico in North American Discovery, 1500–1685 (1985), esp. pp. 27-33, 116-119, 185-207.

Additional Bibliography

Adorno, Rolena, and Patrick Charles Pautz. Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca: His Account, His Life, and the Expedition of Pánfilo de Narváez. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1999.

Thomas, Hugh. Rivers of Gold: The Rise of the Spanish Empire, from Columbus to Magellan. New York: Random House, 2003.

Wood, Michael. Conquistadors. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000.

                                    Jerald T. Milanich

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Narváez, Pánfilo de (c. 1478–1528)

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