Age of Contact in Texas
My journey that forever changed who I was and who I would become.
By Dalton Brown

The journey from Spain...

June 6,1527

Today we left my homeland. I am so excited to be a part of this journey. I can't believe my dad had finally let me go with him as he explores the dangers and adventures that await us in the new world. The ship is the most beautiful sailing vessel I have ever seen. It is equipped with everything a young man my age could dream of. The crew seems eager, and I'm not sure they know how to take me. I will prove myself worthy of their respect by working harder than everyone. I am ready to learn everything a sailor must know to be the best. I want to be remembered as Alonzo de Vaca, Cabeza de Vaca’s courageous thirteen year old son. Goodnight for now.

March 1, 1528

I do not know how long I have been on this god forsaken ship. I tried to keep count but I failed. The work on ship is harder than I imagined. I work every day and show the crew and dad that I will give my all. I am more tired than I have ever been. Food supplies seemed to be slowly diminishing. I feel like this ship is going to be the death of me. I can’t even wash myself, I smell like an animal that has been dead for a week. I am afraid that if this voyage does not go like it was planned, I might join my mother. Goodnight for now.

The expedition to Texas where most were lost along the way.

Land trek to Texas with 242 men remaining

July 4,1529

We finally landed in marshy lands, but our navigators did not know where we were. The captain wanted us to keep moving, through harsh swamps and wetlands despite being attacked repeatedly by natives. Dad says there is around 242 men remaining, but we started out with 600 men. Malaria has been going around and every time somebody passes I think about mom dying on her bed while she held my hand. I have not told dad yet, but I am afraid that the next native attack might be the last straw. Goodnight for now.

Enslaved by Karankawa's for weeks.

July 14

A lot has happened over the past several days. We ran out of food two or three days ago and starvation caused us to eat our horses. We made 5 small boats for us to sail to New Spain, but a storm blew us apart. Our boat and one other crashed on an island’s sandy beach. The men were fading without supplies and a tribe that called themselves Karankawas enslaved us. Only four of us remained: my father, Andres Dorantes, and Alonso del Castillo Maldonado, and myself. We escaped a few hours ago from those natives, and we have been on the run for some time now in the middle of no where. I just want to eat a meal at home again.

Treks west across Pecos & Colorado

July 18

We have been traveling for some time now and the only people we have encountered are natives and buffalo. My dad became known as a trader and a surgeon just from traveling and wandering. It feels as if we have walked all of Spain. My whole body is growing weaker from a lack of food and water. My determination to live and fight is slowly dwindling the longer we walk without finding any Spanish settlements. The natives say that we are getting closer and closer to New Spain. This gives me hope. Goodnight for now.

Our expedition is finally over.

July 22

I cannot express the joy and excitement I felt when we were welcomed into Mexico City’s gates. Shortly after arriving were helped to the infirmary and the people there were amazed to hear about our tales of survival. They brought me a plateful of food and were surprised when I scarfed all of the food and chugged the pint of water. I was shocked when I heard that Andres Dorante's got an infection in his leg. The doctors have not decided what to do yet. I have been praying for him and hoping that he will make it. Mexico City is almost as pretty as home, but something about it is not the same. I have been thinking about how close I was to see her again. I hope she’s proud of me and dad. Goodnight for now.

Return To Spain

January 1

We are finally on our way back to Spain. We had to wait for a boat, a boat crew, and for Andres Dorantes’s leg to heal or what is left of it. He had it amputated on, but he is doing better now he uses wooden crutches to move around. My dad and I cannot wait to see our motherland and as my dad has to report to his superiors that sent the expedition to La Florida. This adventure taught me how dangerous life is. It also showed how courage and determination could continuously inspire me. Once we get home these journal entries are to be devoted to my mother’s spirit. Spain, I am coming home and Goodnight…...for now.