The New Student's Reference Work/Narvaez, Pánfilo de

The New Student's Reference Work  (1914) 
Narvaez, Pánfilo de


Narvaez (när-vä′ ā́th), Pánfilo de, Spanish adventurer and soldier, was born at Valladolid about 1478. He was the principal lieutenant of Velasquez in his conquest of Cuba, and was sent by him at the head of a force of 900 men to conquer and supersede Cortez in Mexico. He landed at Vera Cruz in April, 1520, and on May 28 was surprised and taken prisoner by his abler and more active fellow-countryman. He was well-treated, however, by Cortez and soon released. He returned to Spain, and in 1526 obtained from Charles V a grant of Florida over which he was made governor. He sailed the following year with five ships and about 600 men, and landed probably near Tampa Bay in April, 1528. He marched inland, but, after losing half his men in encounters with the Indians, was obliged to return to the coast. Unable to find his ships, he built some rude boats in which the much reduced company sailed for Mexico in September, 1528. The vessel which carried Narvaez was driven to sea by a storm and he and his men perished near the mouth of the Mississippi, except Cabeza de Vaca, his lieutenant, and three men, who reached land and made their way across Texas to the Gulf of California, reaching Mexico only after years of wandering.