Hernando de Soto

by // Hannah VanderMeer

Background Information

Hernando de Soto was a Spanish explorer and conquistador who led the first European expedition deep into the territory of the modern-day United States, and the first documented European to have crossed the Mississippi River.

Personal Information

born // 1495, Barcarrota, Spain

died // May 21, 1542, Mississippi River

nationality // Spanish

spouse // Ines de Bobadilla (m. 1537-1542)

parents // Leonor Arias Tinoco, Francisco Mendez de Soto

siblings // Juan Mendez de Soto

Random Facts

  • de Soto helped conquer Peru
  • He set out for America in 1539
  • Young de Soto was invited to join Davila, governor of Darien, on his 1514 expedition to the West Indies
  • In 1532, explorer Francisco Pizarro made de Soto second in command on Pizarro's expedition to explore and conquer Peru
  • de Soto played a fundamental role in organizing the conquest of Peru, and engaged in successful battle to capture Cuzco
  • In 1536 de Soto returned to Spain a wealthy man
  • On April 6, 1538, de Soto and his fleet departed Sanlucar
  • By May 18, 1539, de Soto and his fleet at last set out for Florida
Hernando de Soto - Mini Biography

More Random Facts

  • After crossing the Mississippi River de Soto was struck with fever
  • Was a native of the impoverished region of southwestern Spain
  • de Soto's family was of minor nobility and modest means
  • de Soto earned a fortune from Davila's conquest of Panama and Nicaragua
  • He became the first European to make contact with the Inca Emperor Atahualpa
  • de Soto was among the Emperors closest contacts among the Spaniards
  • Pizarro's men executed Atahualpa in 1533