Proposed monument commemorating the Pánfilo de Narváez Expedition (monument designed by sculptor Mark Aeling; rendering by artist, Carrie Jadus, both of St. Petersburg, FL).
The monument depicts four characters central to the Narváez expedition: Pánfilo de Narváez, the Governor of La Florida, Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, the Treasurer of the expedition who recorded the odyssey, Chief Ucita of the Tocobaga Indian tribe, and Estevanico of Azemour, the black Moroccan slave of Dorantes, who went on to discover Arizona and New Mexico.
Pánfilo de Narváez
Landing in Florida
The first contact between Native Americans of Florida and Europeans began in 1513 when Ponce de Leon “discovered” Florida, marking the date when maps and written-records first became available. We know that Ponce de Leon in 1521, Narvaez in 1528, and Soto in 1540 were the first major landings or attempted settlements on today’s Suncoast – yet we haven’t firmly established where the landings occurred, thus lacking a “sense of place” that is needed for the telling of a story to begin. The publication of The Pánfilo de Narváez Expedition of 1528, will enable The History Council to convince the city, county, state, and federal governments to support a tangible recognition of that historic event. However, additional research is needed to see if it can be determined, with a high degree of likelihood, where Ponce de Leon and Soto landed. From those original contacts, the “Colonial Era”, a period of 300 years, also needs to be popularized.