Hernando De Soto
In 1496 Spain found an extraordinary explorer and conquistador with the birth of the famous Hernando De Soto. He was born in a poor family and was always looking for ways to lead a more comfortable life. Perhaps this was what led him to embark on his expeditions where he searched new lands to find wealth and gold.
Hernando De Soto is well known for his discovery of the Mississippi River and his expeditions in the south eastern part of the US in search of gold and ways to get to the Chinese territory.
Soto went to discover the treasures of the New World in 1514 and was appreciated for his clever plotting and planning abilities. He was also good at riding and was a fearless fighter. Soto was greatly influenced by the likes of Magellan, Balboa and Leon, who were great explorers of the time.
Perhaps Soto's first great adventure was the expedition and conquest of Peru. He was noticed for his great warrior qualities and his intelligent tactics and was considered to have played a major role in Peru.
On his return to his homeland, he became famous and was honored by his people because of the riches that he had brought back from Peru. It was then that he married Isabel de Babadilla. After this he set out on the expedition of North America.
Beginning from 1539 to the beginning of 1540, Soto spent in various parts of Florida after which he explored Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and the Carolinas through 1540. In 1541, he went to places like Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma.
He died in Arkansas on the 21st of May, 1542 due to a fatal fever. After his death his corpse was hidden by his men throughout the night. This was because the natives there believed him to be a sun god and his men wanted to avoid any kind of confusion.
He had failed to find the treasure in search of which he had set out. His fleet was in a bad shape and his men were miserable and longing to come back home. It was because of these factors that the expedition that he had begun could not be continued any longer and came to an end after his death.
Although in terms of wealth the expedition had failed, Hernando De Soto left his mark on the places that he had explored and on the native people for many years to come.
Several places are still known after his name. Some of them are the park in St. Petersburg called Fort De Soto Park and the one in Alabama named DeSoto State Park; the De Soto County in Mississippi and the private school in Arkansas called the De Soto School. All this only goes on to show how great Soto was as an explorer and conqueror and how much love and respect he had earned for himself.