Biography of Hernando de Soto (1500-1542)

Conqueror and Spanish discoverer, born in Jerez de los Caballeros towards the year 1500 and died on May 21, 1542, while doing a long March in search of the mouth of the Mississippi River, discovered by him in may 1541. He/She participated in the colonization of Castilla del Oro, Nicaragua and Peru, and was appointed in advance of Florida; He/She began the colonization of the territory, but could hardly make the discovery of some lands of the southwest of the United States.

Born in a family hijodalga, formed by Francisco Méndez de Soto, a native of la Bureba, and Doña Leonor Arias Tinoco, a native of Portugal. Nothing of his childhood and his early youth is known, but we have a description you made by Pedro Pizarro, according to which was "small man, skilled in the Indian war, brave and affable with the soldiers". For America, he/she embarked on the mammoth expedition (1,500 men) Pedrarias Davila led to Castilla del Oro and which came out April 11, 1514. Hernando de Soto participated in the main actions that were then in Panama, as a soldier under the command of Gaspar Espinosa. In the campaign against Urraca, which achieved the title of Captain, he/she contributed to the founding of the town of Santiago of cream between 1520-22. He/She then participated in the discovery and conquest of Nicaragua by Hernández de Córdoba and attended the foundations of Brussels, Leon and Granada (1524). He/She fought with Gil González Dávila , and after taking part in the subjugation of Hernández de Córdoba, settled in Granada as Alderman and one of its major neighbors. There had two children in an indigenous woman, which were (recognized) María and Andrés. Also lived maritally with Juana Hernández Spanish, which had no offspring. He/She devoted himself to business and had two ships engaged in the lucrative business of slaves, in company with Hernán Ponce. Pizarro required his help for the conquest of the Peru, for their collaboration offered him the post of lieutenant general; Soto agreed and gave up his life of comfort to embark on the conquest of new territories. It chartered four ships and equipment 100 men that joined Francisco Pizarro in the island of Puna, where he/she met the surprise that the position he/she had been promised had been already given to Hernando Pizarro. Most you were later offset with an encomienda in Piura, the first town founded by the Spanish in the Tawantinsuyu.

Hernando de Soto was instrumental in the conquest of the Inca Empire. He/She accompanied Pizarro to Cajamarca and was sent to intimidate Atahualpa. He/She then made a ride and slowed down against the same person of the Inca, who is apparently not bothered (November 15, 1532). The next day, on the victory, De Soto captained one of the three squadrons of cavalry, along with Benalcazar and Hernando Pizarro. After the imprisonment of Atahualpa was sent to Cuzco, where rounded off their spoils. De Soto was Corregidor in Cuzco, from which resulted a rivalry with Juan Pizarro. The mediation of Francisco Pizarro solved the tension.Hernando de Soto left then to Nicaragua with his great wealth. He/She went to Lima and finally (end of November 1535) headed to Panama, crossed the Isthmus to God's name and returned to Spain. It was a real Indian. He/She was 35 years old and an immense fortune. In 1537 he/she married in Segovia Doña Isabel de Bobadilla, daughter of Pedrarias, and moved to Seville. To know the news of the discoveries made in the North of Mexico it came again restlessness for adventure. That same year requested and obtained the conquest of Florida, where he/she had failed Ponce de León, Vázquez de Ayllón and recently Panfilo de Narvaez. He/She was named Adelantado de la Florida and Governor of Cuba, charge this last that it claimed to have a base of operations. He/She invested everything had won until then to prepare a large expedition composed of 600 armed men who would argue for a year and a half, as pledged. Abounded in the Peru and some Portuguese veterans. They embarked on seven ships and three brigs 6 April 1538, arriving in Cuba in June, there he/she rebuilt the Fort of la Habana, it did stockpile of supplies and reinforcements and left Juan de Rojas as the Lieutenant of the Governor and his wife Doña Isabel de Bobadilla. The 18 of may of 1539 he/she sailed from Havana with nine vessels, on Board of whom were 515 men, without the crew, and 237 horses.

The Navy came smoothly to the Bay of the Holy Spirit (Tampa) may 25, 1539, where they found Juan Ortiz, a survivor of the expedition of Narvaez, who lived for twelve years with the Indians. The advance left a hundred men at the port and ordered to return the ships to Cuba (with orders to return within a time). He/She then interned with his men on the Florida peninsula. Since then, and for three years he/she toured incessantly the American Southeast territory attracted by different myths that vanished. It was up to Apalachee, old objective of Narváez, where invernó and then continued to the northeast through the current Georgia. In the vicinity of the Savannah River changed to the Northeast - where came almost to Tennessee, and then to the Southwest again by Georgia and Alabama, to stop near Mobila. After changing the course to the Northwest became a huge River on May 8, 1541. It was the Mississippi, to the South where the city of Memphis (Tennessee) was then built. They called it the great river of the Holy Spirit. The Indians called it Meact Massipí or "father of waters". To be able to cross it they had to build four canoes, which took about a month. The winter of 1541-42 broke up and later followed by Arkansas, where decided to overwinter.

The troop had been reduced by half: there were just 300 men and 42 horses. In March 1542, they resumed the March in search of sea, heading south. The advance sick with fevers and called his captains and named as successor to Luis Moscoso. He/She died on May 21, 1542. His men wrapped him in a blanket and buried it in the waters of the river that had been discovered. The survivors built a few brigs and down the Mississippi for 50 days, at the end of which arrived in the mouth. It was already the year of 1543.


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