Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca
Born in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain. Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca, was the first European to see Iguassu Falls in the period 1541-1542. After wandering almost naked among the natives of North America for 10 years, Cabeza de Vaca returned to Spain in 1537 and was rewarded with an appointment as governor of Rio de la Plata (an area that forms a large part of present-day Paraguay). In 1541-42, Cabeza de Vaca led an expedition through the South of present-day Brazil to Asuncion, the capital of Rio de la Plata. On the way he explored marvelous Iguassu Falls. He took office as governor of the province in 1542, but was ousted two years later as the result of a revolt. Sent to Spain under arrest in 1554, he was later banished to Africa. In 1556, he obtained a pardon and a pension.