De Soto Explores Florida and Discovers The Mississippi (1539-1541)
The failure of De Leon and Narvaez did not prevent other Spaniards from making similar attempts. In 1539 De Soto, with about six hundred men, two hundred horses, and bloodhounds to hunt the Indians, landed on the west coast of Florida in search of the new kingdom of gold. The Indians did not fear the bloodhounds more than they hated the Spaniards, whom they fiercely opposed. Northward and westward the Spaniards wandered in their fruitless search for goldmines. They found, instead ” fighting, fever, and famine.” One great, I looked for discovery of the Mississippi River. They journeyed many miles beyond it but soon returned, and at last, after two years of hopeless wandering, De Soto, worn out and sick at heart, died and was buried in the great river which he had discovered (1541). His surviving companions sailed down the Mississippi and found shelter in the Spanish settlement of Mexico. De Soto, like DebLeon, failed; nor were any Spanish expiration’s in the country north of Mexico successful.