Commissioned by the Spanish crown to conquer Florida, Hernando de Soto and his expedition of 10 ships and 700 men landed on the coast of Florida in 1539. He was then one of the wealthiest and most successful of the Spanish conquistadors, having worked as a slave trader in Panama and the West Indies and as Francisco Pizarro's second-in-command during the conquest of Peru.
His travels through the American south east in search of conquest and treasure would last three years. In 1841 his expedition made the first European sighting of the Mississippi River. De Soto died of a fever in 1542 and his body was interned in the Mississippi River.
Location painted: Florida, USA
- 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
Spanish Explorer and Conquistador
Hernando de Soto