Effect of Christianity on Cabeza de Vaca and the Natives Essay

1440 Words Jul 3rd, 2006 6 Pages
The Effects of Christianity on Cabeza de Vaca and the Natives

On June 17, 1527, Cabeza de Vaca set sail on the order to conquer and govern the lands from the Rio Grande to the cape of Florida. However, during his journey he encountered much devastation such as the wrecking of his ship which resulted in his separation from the majority of his Christian companions. Praying to God after every ordeal, Cabeza routinely sought after his Christian religion to guide him through his unexpected journey. While traveling through the interior of America, he also encountered many native tribes which inhabited the land. While most of the Spanish conquistadors in the sixteenth century spread their religion through warlike ways and rearranged societies
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This ideology is why he states that "Clearly, to bring all these people to Christianity and subjection to Your Imperial Majesty, they must be won by kindness, the only certain way" (Covey 123). As for the question of whether the Indians could understand the concept of religion and God, the answer is yes due to their own religious practices separate from Christianity. Cabeza learns that the natives worship a God named Aguar in whom "They said they believed he created the whole world and everything in it" (Covey 131). Cabeza interpreted this as an indication of a readiness for the acceptance of Christianity (Petty 2).
Cabeza may have taken the viewpoint of peaceful conversion rather than that of most other Spanish explores, who would use terror and violence for conversion, due to his experience with certain natives after the capsize of his boat. In reaction to their sight "The Indians, understanding our full plight, sat down and lamented for half an hour so loudly they could have been heard a long way off" (Covey 57). Cabeza then says in reaction to the natives' actions "It was amazing to see these wild, untaught savages howling like brutes in compassion for us" (Covey 57-58). The mindset of peaceful interaction between the Indians and Europeans in Cabeza's crew might have been confirmed after this encounter. Also after the wreck of the ship, Cabeza was brought to the natives' village and was given a place to sleep and was fed in the morning. This gesture…