In 1527, on this day the Spanish Explorer Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca became the first European to set eyes upon the great American city of Cahokia .
Mississippians welcome de Vaca ExpeditionAlthough a chief officer in name, originally, his role was simply that of treasurer of the Narváez expedition of six hundred men. But only four made it ashore at Tampa Bay in La Florida and the raft of Narváez himself was lost during a hurricane at the mouth of the Mississippi River.
The tiny party was joined by indigenes of the upper Gulf Coast. About forty men including the three Spaniards made it to
Cahokia with de Vaca at the head. By that stage he had developed such a remarkable reputation as a faith healer that his indigenous companions regarded the companions as "children of the sun", endowed with the power to both heal and destroy. For now it was unclear which of the those two powers would prevail. And their sense of awe was surpassed by the spectacle of the great plaza, larger and more sophisticated than any comparable metropolis in Europe.