Following the Corn Trail + Trade/Economics

Chapter 8 of A Land So Strange deals with the journey in Mexico and their experiences traveling with various indigenous groups. Reséndez highlights the importance of trade in this chapter, something I talked about in my last blog post. Reséndez describes one such trade interaction, saying “Each time the explorers approached the next indigenous settlement on their journey, a curious exchange would ensue. Those who had accompanied the medicine men would pillage the new hosts, entering their huts and plundering whatever possessions or food they could carry back to their own encampment. In return, they left the medicine men.” This was disturbing to the castaways. However to the natives, this was considered an equal trade, as the skill of the castaways was well known and considered to be very impressive. Basically, Reséndez is describing how the natives traded goods for services, a pretty sophisticated economy. Also, the natives would escort Cabeza de Vaca and crew to the next group of natives and pillage them, so they would eventually get goods themselves, and thus the cycle repeated itself.

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