Episode 11 – Cabeza de Vaca

In this episode we relate the tragic story of Panfilo de Narvaez’s expedition to Florida and the horrible fate which overtook his men. We also discuss the remarkable survival of two characters connected with the expedition – Juan Ortiz, taken captive by the vindictive Ucita, Chief of Hirrihigua, as well as the far more famous Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca, who literally walked his way to freedom, across deserts and in spite of a deck stacked against him. Enjoy!

Episode 10 – Spanish Scramble

In this episode, we explore the rivalries and jockeying of the Caribbean conquistadors, who each wished to take their own slice of territory on the mainland. We begin with Diego Velasquez and Francisco de Garay, whose explorations and claims became a serious threat to Ponce de Leon’s hold on Florida. After detouring a bit to finish Garay’s storyline, we return to Ponce de Leon and his second, fatal expedition of 1521. We conclude the episode with a recounting of Lucas Vasquez de Ayllon’s attempt to colonize the coast of the Carolinas, and the fate which befell the first European colony in the United States: San Miguel de Guadaloupe. By 1527 anyone who had a claim on America was dead, leaving the land open for anyone who dared come and take it for himself. Next episode, it will be Panfilo de Narvaez’s turn to take a shot at American colonization…

Episode 9 – Into Bimini

We finally touch the soil of what is now the United States! In this episode we discuss Juan Ponce de Leon and his first voyage to Florida (1513). We also wade into the historical controversies whether or not Ponce de Leon actually discovered Florida and was he really searching for the Fountain of Youth? We also discuss the importance of his lesser known and less romantic discovery – the Gulf Stream.

Episode 8 – Broken Spears

After recuperating for a month in Tlaxcala, Cortes is ready to resume the offensive. He ravages Tepeaca and prepares his forces for the final assault on Tenochtitlan. When that assault comes, it spells the end of a once magnificent city.
“…And the giants greeted each other thus: ‘Do not fall down, for whoever falls, falls forever.'”