In 1527, Cabeza de Vaca served as second-in-command of an expedition to the new-found territory of Florida. After landing in what is now Tampa Bay, the expedition got separated from their ships. Lost, starving, abandoned by their expedition leader, Vaca, after producing makeshift barges from local wood, led the others by sea to Galveston Island. Wrecked there in a hurricane, they made their way overland as far as Oklahoma and New Mexico, finally reaching Mexico City ten years later -- with only Vaca and four others surviving the journey. This is Vaca's own account, written in 1542, of the first Europeans to travel through Florida and the Gulf Coast.