Problems with Esteban's Wikipedia page


I did not post the Wikipedia page listed for "Estevanico." It was posted by someone else who keeps rejecting and writing over any attempts to correct the page. Estevanico was the slave nickname for Esteban (full Spanish name of Esteban de Dorantes). The nickname was condescendingly used to demean him, and it is the nickname usually used in books mentioning Esteban
     Although generally accurate and well done, the page erroneously implies that "all but four" of the 80 survivors of the trip across the Gulf of Mexico died in captivity after their crudely made boats washed ashore in November 1528 on the Texas coast south of Galveston.
     Not true. The 80 or so Narváez survivors consolidated on the Velasco Peninsula (at that time an island), planning and some even trying to reach the nearest Spanish settlement hundreds of miles away in Mexico. All but five of the 80 died in the first winter. Indians never enslaved the first 75, instead restoring them to health and tolerating their presence for several monhs.
      In the spring of 1529, different bands of the Karankawa tribe enslaved the final five survivors (the Wikipedia entry lists only four). Esteban and the Spaniards remained slaves of Indians for more than five years on the Texas coast. The four who eventually escaped were Esteban, Cabeza de Vaca, Dorantes, and Castillo. (See this site's page 2 blog entry titled "The man left behind" to learn about a fifth man, Lope de Oviedo.)
   Esteban and the three main Spaniards escaped in the fall of 1534. They were never enslaved by Indians again as they made their way out of Texas and across northern Mexico, posing as shamans who could treat Indian ailments.
   There are other errors on that otherwise informative Wikipedia page, including a reiteration that most of the 80 survivors "were killed or died in the ensuing six years of capivity" and that the expedition experienced numerous Indian attacks before Narváez sent his caravel ships away. The Indian attacks came AFTER the ships were sent away. There is no mention of Apalachee Indians after Narváez sent the ships away. Apalachees were the main reason the expedition retreated by building boats to cross the Gulf of Mexico. The Wikipedia page miscontrues the Spanish concept of "La Florida" in the sixteenth century. That concept included the peninsula of Florida and the Gulf coast of today's Southern states over to and including southern Texas, but it did not include "all unexplored areas north and west, including northern Mexico," as the page states. Also, the survivors did not land on Galveston Island as the Wikipedia page states  — they landed on a no longer extant island now known as the Velasco Peninsula south of Galveston.
     The page repeats several unsubstantiated but enduring negative stereotypes of Esteban by white writers over the centuries. All negative stereotypes of Esteban arose from speculations by Coronado, Castañeda, and several novelists and historians over the past five centuries. Those who knew him best (Cabeza de Vaca, Dorantes, Viceroy Mendoza, and Friar Marcos) never described Esteban negatively. 


Shows you can't believe everything you see on Wikipedia.

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