Hernando De Soto
Hernando De Soto is best known as the leader of Spain’s first major expedition into the Southeastern part of the United States. This Spanish Conquistador also was a part of the conquest of Peru and the defeat of the Inca’s. Hernando De Soto was also the first Spaniard to lead an expedition to cross the Mississippi River.
De Soto was born in the 1500’s at Jerez de los Caballeros in the province of Estremadura, Spain. He was the second child of Francisco Mendez De Soto and Leonor Arias Tinoco. His father was a poor nobleman who came from the military class. His family had little money and minor nobility. Hernando De Soto was more interested in exploring the world instead of school, which limited his education. When Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas in 1492, Hernando De Soto was determined to explore the world. In 1514 he was able to go on an expedition with Pedro Arias Davila’s to the West Indies, but did not return to Spain for 22 years. He was able to work with many other successful explorers such as Francisco Pizarro and Juan Ponce de Leon.
In 1531, De Soto sailed with Pizarro in the Conquest of Peru. Pizarro recruited 200 men and sailed to conquer the Inca’s. When Pizarro and De Soto reached the outskirts of Cajamarca with their men, they encountered the Inca King, Atahualpa and more than 30,000 warriors camping in tents. Pizarro captured Atahualpa and killed thousands of Inca’s in the process. Pizarro promised Atahualpa he would not harm him if he gave Pizarro Gold and silver. The Inca’s worked for seven months to come up with the riches Pizarro and De Soto had asked for. In today’s money Pizarro and De Soto had nearly a $100 million. Pizarro feared that Atahualpa would raise an army against him so he executed on July 26, 1533. De Soto was not a part of the plan because he was away on a mission, but when he returned and found out what Pizarro had done he was furious. De Soto and...