MAY 21, 1539


Conquistador de Soto, beginning his expedition across what is now the southeastern U.S. in hopes of finding a passage to the Pacific Ocean & the Orient, landed in Florida in May 1539 and marched northward. In modern North Carolina, he arrived at the village of Joara (or Xuala) on May 21 before reaching the headwaters of the Toe River on May 26. Reports indicate the Native Americans (possibly Cherokee) were generous.  The chief of Joara offered food to the Spanish.  An unknown tribe gave de Soto 300 dogs, because they noticed the Spaniards ate them. De Soto, however, became angered and set dogs on the Indians and took hostages to learn information regarding minerals and other riches. De Soto’s tactics were ineffective and influenced Juan Pardo’s more diplomatic approach 25 years later.

Charles Hudson, Marvin T. Smith, Chester B. DePratter, “The Hernando DeSoto Expedition: From Apalachee to Chiaha,” University of South Carolina, 1987, p. 25.  Retrieved 10/31/2021, The Hernando De Soto Expedition: From Apalachee to Chiaha (
“Chiaha.” Retrieved 10/31/2021, What is it Chiaha. Encyclopedia (
Dr. Troy L. Kickler, “The DeSoto Expedition,” North Carolina History Project. Retrieved 10/31/2021, De Soto Expedition - North Carolina History Project
Map: Geronimo Chiaves, Abraham Ortelius, 1584. Public Domain. Source: Exploring the Early Americas | Exhibitions - Library of Congress (…

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