Why Famous: Led the first European expedition deep into the territory of the modern-day United States, and the first documented to have crossed the Mississippi River.
Birthplace: Barcarrota or Badajoz, Extremadura, Spain
- 1539-05-30 Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto's expedition of 10 ships and 700 men lands in Florida
- 1539-06-03 Hernando De Soto claims Florida for Spain
- 1540-06-03 Hernando de Soto crosses the Appalachian Mountains, 1st European to do so
- 1541-05-08 Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto and his expedition discover the Mississippi River