Hernando De Soto

Hernando de Soto (c.1496/1497–1542) was a Spanish explorer and conquistador who, while leading the first European expedition deep into the territory of the modern-day United States, was the first European documented to have crossed the Mississippi River.

A vast undertaking, de Soto's North American expedition ranged throughout the southeastern United States searching for gold, silver and a passage to China. De Soto died in 1542 on the banks of the Mississippi River in Arkansas or Louisiana.

Hernando de Soto was born to parents who were hidalgos of modest means in Extremadura, a region of poverty and hardship from which many young people looked for ways to seek their fortune elsewhere. Two towns—Badajoz and Barcarrota—claim to be his birthplace. He spent time as a child at each place, and he stipulated in his will that his body be interred at Jerez de los Caballeros, where other members of his family were interred. The age of the Conquerors came on the heels of the Spanish reconquest of the Iberian peninsula from Islamic forces. Spain and Portugal were filled with young men seeking a chance for military fame after the Moors were defeated. With discovery of new lands to the west (which they thought at the time to be East Asia), the poor young men were attracted to whispers of glory and wealth.

De Soto sailed to the New World in 1514 with the first Governor of Panama, Pedrarias Dávila. Brave leadership, unwavering loyalty, and clever schemes for the extortion of native villages for their captured chiefs became de Soto's hallmark during the Conquest of Central America. He gained fame as an excellent horseman, fighter, and tactician, but was notorious for his brutality.

During that time, de Soto was influenced by the achievements of Juan Ponce de León, who discovered Florida; Vasco Núñez de Balboa, who discovered the Pacific Ocean (he called it the "South Sea" on the south coast of Panama), and Ferdinand Magellan, who first sailed that ocean to the Orients.

Read more about Hernando De SotoFirst Expedition – Conquest of Peru, Return To Spain, Effects of Expedition in North America, Namesakes, Sites Visited By The De Soto Expedition

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... See also List of sites and peoples visited by the Hernando de Soto Expedition The first European to reach Arkansas was the Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto in 1541 ... Soto wandered among settlements, inquiring about gold and other valuable natural resources ... Upon arrival in the Pacaha village, the Casqui who had followed behind de Soto attacked and raided the village ...
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... Area) Costilla County, Colorado (named after the Costilla River, meaning "little coast") De Soto County, Florida (named after the Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto) De Soto County, Mississippi (n ... In Spanish, fresno means, "ash tree") Hernando County, Florida (named after Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto) La Paz County, Arizona ("The Peace") La Plata County, Colorado ("The Silver ...
Hernando De Soto Bridge
... The Hernando de Soto Bridge is a through arch bridge carrying Interstate 40 across the Mississippi River between West Memphis, Arkansas and Memphis, Tennessee ... The bridge is named for 16th century Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto who explored this stretch of the Mississippi River, and died south of Memphis ...
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... United States portal Florida portal New Spain portal Spain portal List of sites and peoples visited by the Hernando de Soto Expedition. ...
History Of Randolph, Tennessee - European Explorers - Hernando De Soto
... Hernando de Soto (c ... In 1541, De Soto and 400 men reached the Mississippi River in the area of what is modern Shelby County in southwest Tennessee or DeSoto County in northwest Mississippi ... There is a documented controversy about the exact location of Hernando de Soto's crossing over the Mississippi River ...