Cabeza de Vaca was an explorer who was born in Jerez de la Fronteria into a family that took the title, Cabeza de Vaca, "head of a cow", from his mothers side of the family. In 1212 one of her ancestors- a shepherd named Martin Alhaja- had helped the Spanish Christians win an important battle against the Moors in by marking a unguarded mountain pass with a cow’s skull. The Christians attacked, scoring a major
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cities of Cibola, encouraged many other expeditions to America including Hernando de Soto and Franciso Vasquez de Coronado.
For Historians, Cabeza de Vaca’s importance came from his having been the first European to travel into Southwest and to write reports that spurred explorations of the region.
His reports were about his tribal experiences with the Karankawas, Caddoes, Atakapans, Jumanoes, and Conchoes, Pincas, Optans, and the loose band of hunters- formally known as the Coalitecans.