According come meager historic references, Captain Alonso Alvarez de Piñeda"s life was short but exceedingly eventful and also productive. The only actual cite of his date of birth appears in a biography of his immediate superior, Francisco de Garay. It claims that Piñeda to be born in Spain in 1494 in the village of Centernera.

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His adventures began when Garay (who to be then governor of Jamaica in the Caribbean) commissioned Alvarez de Piñeda come command a flotilla of four vessels through the express function of detect the imagine Southwest i water path to the Orient and the succeeding treasures that China and other asian civilizations. It to be a vast responsibility for a captain that was just 25 years of age.

Alvarez de Piñeda took his assignment seriously. He spent the next nine months sailing along the shore of contemporary western Florida and also all around the gulf come Vera Cruz, Mexico. The exceptional talent that this young explorer was his attention to detail. He not only stopped countless times along the unfamiliar coastline, however made an extensive maps of each area he encountered with notes about the settlers and their cultures.

Before leaving the Caribbean, Francisco Garay gave Alvarez de Piñeda instructions come intercept the flotilla commanded by Hérnan Cortés (1485-1547) in Vera Cruz. His setup was to case that section of Mexico because that Spain and also to oust Cortés. This failure in military judgment was soon noticeable when Alvarez de Piñeda anchored his ships and also sent men ashore to take command. The plan backfired as soon as Cortés captured the landing force and also sent Alvarez de Piñeda and also his flotilla packing.

They resumed their trip along the coastline of Texas and Alvarez de Piñeda is further credited with the discovery of what is currently Corpus Christi. He provided the negotiation this name to honor the Catholic feast job of body Christi. He likewise went ashore at another settlement in southern Texas and also was critical in colonizing the area the is now Brownsville.

Because his ship were every badly in require of repairs, Captain Alvarez de Piñeda anchored hisfleet in ~ the mouth that what he dubbed Rio de ras Palmas, now thought to have been the Rio Grande. He continued to be there 40 days while his guys secured the supplies necessary for repairing the damaged vessels.

Alvarez de Piñeda provided this sailing break to travel inland and discover any type of inhabitants who might assist him in his mapping work. Indigenous archive records of the time, it shows up that that traveled around 18 mile (29 km) inland along the river and also reported encountering about 40 different Indian tribes, countless of whom were wearing accessories made that gold. This urged him to make written references to branch Garay that colonists be sent out to the area and, in the name of Spain, to insurance claim the entire seaside landmass native Texas come Florida under the name "Amichel."

Although created accounts of these events are lacking, there was an unexpected exploration that turned speculation into historical fact. In 1974 the Harlingen naval Reserve Unit was excavating for civil War artefacts on behalf of the Rio Grande valley Museum. When digging for these treasures, they come upon a clay tablet computer with a Spanish inscription that translated into English as: "Here <. . .> Capt. Alonso Alvarez de Piñeda in 1519 through 270 men and also 4 that Garay"s Ships."

According come Bernal Diaz del Castillo (one the Piñeda"s officers), Captain Alvarez de Piñeda died as a result of wounds he received while fighting ind on the Panuco River. He to be 25 year of age when he was reported dead.

Although Piñeda"s career was really short, it to be of an excellent importance to all who followed him in the he proved—without a doubt—that the shore of the Gulf of Mexico was a heavy landmass with no possibility of a water i to almost everywhere else on the continent.

Scholars are indebted come Clotilde P. Garcia, M.D., of body Christi, Texas, for much of the known historic information about Alvarez de Piñeda. Her years of study were performed in order come prepare a document to qualify because that the issuance the a historic marker for Captain Alonso Alvarez de Piñeda in corpus Christi.


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