Hernando de Soto was a Spanish explorer. He participated in the conquests of Central America and Peru. He is also credited with the discovery of Mississippi River. He was born circa 1500 in Barcarrota, Extremadura, Spain. He is believed to have been the first European explorer who led an expedition deep into what is now the United States.
He left home on a voyage to the Indies in 1514. He was 14 years old at that time. In 1519, he joined another expedition to the New World heading for Panama. He became a member of the council in Leon, Nicaragua. In 1528, he became regidor of Guatemala and sailed to the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico.ss
Fast Facts: –
- Hernando de Soto joined Francisco Pizarro in the conquest of Peru while sailing from Nicaragua in 1531.
- His family wanted him to become a lawyer but he wanted to be an explorer.
- De Soto was named as captain by Francisco Pizarro.
- During the expedition, he had a reputation of a skilled horseman and one of the four bravest captains.
- He returned to Cuba in 1538 and prepared for his expedition to Florida. On May 30, 1539, Hernando de Soto and 620 other men landed south of Tampa Bay.
- He was also named the lieutenant governor of the city of Cuzco.
- He spotted Mississippi River on May 8, 1541, for the first time.
- His expedition had various major consequences. It affected the relationship between Europeans and North Americans tribes negatively.
- He played a major role in defeating the Incas in the battle of Cajamarca.
- Hernando de Soto was also named into the Explorer Hall of Fame in Genoa, Italy.
- He explored Arkansas after spotting the Mississippi River. After reaching the mouth of Arkansas River he died of fever on May 21, 1542.