Part of Pizarro’s expedition to Peru, this explorer led an expedition into North America. He died along the Mississippi and was buried there in 1542.
Pedro Arias de Ávila
Vasco de Balboa
Hernando de Soto
Hernando de Soto. Hernando de Soto was part of Pizarro’s expedition to Peru. Pizarro’s execution of the Incan king–whom de Soto had been sent to befriend–and the Spaniards’ seizure of power disgusted de Soto, who had witnessed over a decade of infighting and intrigue among the conquistadors in the colonies. He returned to Spain in 1536. But the lure of exploration and riches led him back to the New World at the head of a 1,000-man expedition into North America. He landed near present-day Tampa Bay and proceeded through what is now Alabama and Tennessee, making treaties with some Indian, viciously fighting with others. In May 21, 1541, the Spaniards first saw the mighty Mississippi, the ‘Father of the Waters.’ Still dreaming of fabled rich cities, he succumbed to fever on May 21, 1542 and was buried in the mud of the Mississippi, to prevent his body being disturbed by Indians.