Only four of his men, including Nunez Cabeza de Vaca, succeeded after eight years' of Indian captivity and of long and weary wanderings, in finding their way to Spanish settlements in Mexico.
Among other forest trees of economic importance are the silk-cotton tree (Bombax ceiba), the Palo de vaca, or cow-tree (Brosimum galactodendron), whose sap resembles milk and is used for that purpose, the Inga saman, the Hevea guayanensis, celebrated in the production of rubber, and the Altalea speciosa, distinguished for the length of its leaves.
Meanwhile Vaca de Castro had been sent out as governor of Peru by Charles V., and on hearing of the murder of Pizarro he assumed the government of the country.
The earliest explorations were made by the Spaniards, Cabeza de Vaca, 1528-36, and Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, 1540-42, but the first colony was that planted on Matagorda Bay in 1685 by the French under the Sieur de la Salle.
The island of Santa Catharina was originally settled by the Spanish; Cabeza de Vaca landed here in 1542 and marched hence across country to Asuncion, Paraguay.
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