Talk:Hernando de Soto

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A vast section is needed to detail his many atrocities[edit]

This article reads like so much of the propaganda fed to us in grade school and high school. It's ridiculous that his terrible crimes against the native peoples are not mentioned in full detail. Can someone more familiar with the original sources please start describing this butcher like he really was? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Rjms (talkcontribs) 13:55, 30 July 2011 (UTC)

The "original sources", meaning the four recognized chronicles of the DeSoto expedition, do not detail any incidents that we would recognize today as "atrocities". It's accepted that atrocities and torture might have been committed, and comparisons can be made to the behavior of other conquistadors, but a description of his "crimes" (as recognized today) is impossible, especially "in full detail". I advise the following:
  • Stop relying on history novels for history lessons. They're called "fiction" for a reason.
  • Add new sections to the bottom of the Talk page.
  • Don't forget to sign your posts.
Boneyard90 (talk) 14:07, 30 July 2011 (UTC)

The book "Coming of the Storm" was written by W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O'Neal Gear. Although it is a work of fiction it has a long bibliography of accepted historical sources. There are other sources besides deSoto's official journals. The Gear's are academics who have worked assiduously to research the facts before they wrote the novels they've written. The assertion I previously made, that deSoto burned someone at the stake was mentioned in the book's foreword, not in the fiction section. I intend to track down those similar assertions and determine if they are admissible in this article. There cannot be any doubt in my mind that writing an article like this, about a known conquistador, and failing to mention atrocities committed against native peoples is like using Governor George Wallace's journals to describe the civil rights struggle. RJMS (talk) 12:58, 6 August 2011 (UTC)

It does not matter who wrote them, if it comes in the "fiction" section, they are not a reliable source for an article. Heiro 17:38, 6 August 2011 (UTC)
From my point of view, I'm sure the Gears did an admirable job researching the facts they put in their novels, but what they filled in, in between all those facts, is another matter. But hey, if you can find reliable sources that say de Soto tortured Natives, then I don't see a problem including the information. For a good translation and comparison of the four chroniclers of the de Soto expedition to La Florida (three by members of the exepedition, plus an account written years later based on interviews with 3 or 4 veteran members), I recommend the following two-volume work as a start:
Clayton, Lawrence A., Vernon J. Knight, and Edward C. Moore (Editors). (1996) The de Soto Chronicles: The Expedition of Hernando de Soto to North America in 1539-1543. University of Alabama Press. ISBN 0-8173-0824-5
Good luck. Boneyard90 (talk) 03:45, 7 August 2011 (UTC)

Facts need verification[edit]

There are many facts on the article page that need verification. Please insert footnotes/citations/references to support statements, and cite page numbers from references. As it stands, the article is more like an essay than an encyclopedia entry. Please refer to the following for helpful information: VerifiabilityReliable sourcesCiting sourcesAyapota (talk) 13:04, 23 August 2008 (UTC) {{citations missing}}


The article refers to his having brought pigs into North America, but does not discuss the likelihood of the spread of swine influenza among the Native American population, which was lethal. His account of the expedition describes a widely populated area, which Sieur de la Salle, 140 years later, found quite deserted. Maybe someone with expertise in early North American history can put some info here. AmadorUSA (talkcontribs) 17:59, 18 September 2008 (UTC)

  • Also need to mention they discovered the natives were experienced warriors who constantly fought and killed each other (not as peace-pipe "noble savages"). Should compare with how many were killed by other native tribes during 140 years. -Wikid77 13:35 23 November 2009the

A lot can happen in 140 years, to automatically assume that "swine influenza" killed off the population is wrong, especially when you don't have any evidence that the natives were especially susceptible to it and/or that any of them caught it, or any evidence that the pigs even had it to begin with. You have nothing to base any idea of "likelihood" on. The natives had their fair share of pre-Colombian diseases (including epidemics) they were not the completely vulnerable to every disease that ever existed weaklings some would have you believe. Their immunity systems were not THAT fragile, sheesh.

And why did you pick swine flu? Let me guess, you thought about how you can make the explorers look as bad as possible, saw that de Soto brought pigs, and then decided that he must have brought swine flu too knowing that swine flu was all over the news not too far back and thus would generate an appropriately unquestioning emotional reaction from people. Hmmm...

I thought wikipedia was supposed to about the truth, not about spreading someones politically motivated un-scientific historical revisionism.

-- All the above unsigned comment pretending to reply to, "discuss the likelihood of the spread of swine influenza" is either a misreading of the op or trolling on a trol-invented strawman. Wblakesx (talk) 17:44, 26 May 2014 (UTC)


The ISBN number for the reference Hernando de Soto: A Savage Quest in the Americas is incorrect. Parestrep (talkcontribs) 21:12, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

fixed--Glendoremus (talk) 01:49, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

constant vandalism[edit]

Isn't there a way to block IP editers from editing this page? This page is under constant vandalism. I know he was one of the worst human beings who ever lived, but come on, vandalizing his wiki article is kinda childish. Some of the IP editers return over and over, it's the same addresses. Anybody with admin powers wanna block few of them? Heironymous Rowe (talkcontribs) 04:49, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

  • The article was protected in 2009 on 03-Nov-09 for 1 year. -Wikid77 13:35 23 November 2009

"I know he was one of the worst human beings who ever lived..."

Says who? That's an opinion. And that's the problem with wikipedia, it's not edited by disinterested people who want to be objective, it's edited by people with agendas, opinions and ideologies. In this case, it's to perpetuate the absurdly simplistic ideology that all the native peoples of the Americas were all the most wonderful perfect people who ever lived until the big bad greedy Europeans (who were the most evil people eveeeeeer in history) came along and did the worst evils ever in the world to them and then killed them all. It's more complicated than that, the natives were not saints, they were flawed human beings like all of us and didn't make any less mistakes then people in other parts of the world did. Frankly, any one of the Aztec priests in Pre-Colombian South America who pretended to be emissaries of the gods and ordered the ritualistic slaughter of millions of innocent people including women and children in order to maintain and wield their dictatorial "God" power were a thousand times more of a monster than de Soto supposedly was.

The opening paragraph of this article contains a least as many opinions as it does hard facts. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:33, 10 September 2010 (UTC)

Proper capitalization[edit]

I'm seeing Hernando de Soto referred to as De Soto, de Soto and simply Soto. Which is correct? We need to simply and standardize throughout the article.

I believe it ought to be "de Soto," except of course when it's the beginning of the sentence, in which case it's "De Soto." I don't think "Soto" is right.--Cúchullain t/c 22:04, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. I saw Soto in a reference work and wanted to check. JodyB talk 22:13, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
  • In many American documents, the name is capitalized as "De Soto" (or "DeSoto") so I added also "De Soto" (in 2009) plus a footnote explaining the American documents. Both should be listed because the 100+ years of recent American documents cannot be "undone" to use "de Soto" as the spelling. It's like common spellings "Van Gogh" or "Da Vinci" (not as "The da Vinci Code"). -Wikid77 13:35 23 November 2009
Its still incorrect and irrelevant. And why don't you stop adding code to other peoples signatures? Its distracting and un needed. Heironymous Rowe (talk) 17:07, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

Hernando the Great[edit]

Hernando De Soto (c.1496/1497 - 1542) was a Spanish explorer and conquistador who, while leading the first European expedition deep into the territory of the modern-day United States, was the first European to discover the Mississippi River.

A vast undertaking, de Soto's expedition ranged throughout the southeastern United States searching for gold and a passage to China. De Soto died in 1542 on the banks of the Mississippi River at present-day Lake Village, Arkansas.

Hernando de Soto was born to parents who were hidalgos of modest means in Extremadura, a region of poverty and hardship from which many young people looked for ways to seek their fortune elsewhere. Two towns—Badajoz and Barcarrota—claim to be his birthplace. All that is known with certainty is that he spent time as a child at both places, and he stipulated in his will that his body be interred at Jerez de los Caballeros, where other members of his family were also interred.[1] The age of the Conquerors came on the heels of the Spanish reconquest of the Iberian peninsula from Islamic forces. Spain and Portugal were filled with young men begging for a chance to find military fame after the Moors were defeated. With discovery of new lands to the west (which seemed at the time to be East Asia), the whispers of glory and wealth were too compelling for the poor.

De Soto sailed to the New World in 1514 with the first Governor of Panama, Pedrarias Dávila. Brave leadership, unwavering loyalty, and clever schemes for the extortion of native villages for their captured chiefs became de Soto's hallmark during the Conquest of Central America. He gained fame as an excellent horseman, fighter, and tactician, but was notorious for the extreme brutality with which he wielded these gifts.

During that time, Juan Ponce de León, who discovered Florida, Vasco Núñez de Balboa, who discovered the Pacific Ocean (he called it the "South Sea" below Panama), and Ferdinand Magellan, who first sailed that ocean to the Orient, profoundly influenced de Soto's ambitions. (talk) 21:44, 6 October 2009 (UTC)

  • the de in de Soto is not capitalized, unless the de comes as the first word in a sentence. Just like Juan Ponce de León or Vasco Núñez de BalboaHeironymous Rowe (talk) 22:00, 6 October 2009 (UTC)
    • And are you suggesting this as the new lede for the article? I'm not sure why you posted this. Also, please sign your posts with ~~~~ (four tildas), so the sinebot wont keep having too.Heironymous Rowe (talk) 22:04, 6 October 2009 (UTC)


De Soto made 3 voyages —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 17:55, 12 October 2009 (UTC) He went to peru with Francisco Pizzaro and went to conquer the Incas. (talk) 23:41, 6 November 2009 (UTC)

Under the heading "1539 to early-1540 in Florida," second paragraph, there's a spelling error. From the context it's clear that "council" should be "counsel." Igor4458 (talk) 03:45, 10 November 2009 (UTC)

WP:SOFIXIT. Every word of this article was written by someone no more important than you. Feel free to clean it up as you see fit! --Jayron32 03:48, 10 November 2009 (UTC)
FIXED.Heironymous Rowe (talk) 04:24, 10 November 2009 (UTC)

Alternate route removed[edit]

I've removed the entire "alternate route" section per WP:Bold as being WP:OR and WP:Fringe. The entire section was sourced to a single website [1], written by a self styled "avocational" researcher. If some WP:RSs can be found, so be it. But in the several books I have on the subject, only the details are up for debate, not the entire second half of the route. Recently, some new dicoveries in Georgia (U.S. State) [2] could rewrite a small section there, but it could be awhile before a new map is published by a reliable source. When it does, I'll redo the current maps to reflect the changes. Heironymous Rowe (talk) 09:44, 10 November 2009 (UTC)

The basic gist of the "alternate route" theory that makes it so different, is that the contemporary chroniclers agree that De Soto travelled "north" from Alabama to get to Chickasa. This would take them directly to Chickasaw Old Fields on the Tennessee, rather than "westward" into Mississippi, which is alleged to be an unwarranted assumption of earlier historians. The theory also holds that the subsequent directions given by the chroniclers would all make better sense with the geography, if the north direction is correct at this point rather than the assumed westerly one.
"OR" is an in-house term referring to material that was concocted by a wikipedian, which this isn't. Even if it is "fringe", it would warrant some kind of mention as a prominent theory. Also it may not be NPOV for wikipedia to endorse the proposed Mississippi route. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 12:38, 10 November 2009 (UTC)
It warrants inclusion only if its a valid theory, published by more than one avocational researcher. Many other professional historians such as Patricia Galloway, Charles M. Hudson (author) and David Ewing Duncan have written promininent works on the subject in the last 10 to 15 years. Many others in the archaeological field have published papers about specific sites in relationship to the route. The route is in dispute in details only. As for being a prominent theory, if so, there should be more reliable resources than one avocational writers website to support its conclusion. Heironymous Rowe (talk) 17:59, 10 November 2009 (UTC)
What could show the prominence more than the 4 out of 5 rating from PHRC? [3] (It mainly didn't score a full 5 because of the poor aesthetics of the web layout) Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 18:27, 10 November 2009 (UTC)
As per above, reliable sources other than Donald Sheppard, the avocational writer of the one website used to source the section. Heironymous Rowe (talk) 18:42, 10 November 2009 (UTC)


The opening paragraph states that De Soto was the first European to see the Mississippi. The body of the article says it is unclear whether De Soto was the first European to see the Mississippi. (talk) 03:31, 12 December 2009 (UTC)

Fixed the wording in the lead to match the wording in the body of the article. Thanks for catching that. --Jayron32 03:47, 12 December 2009 (UTC)
A similar inconsistency: the main image caption says De Soto died in Arkansas, while the body of the article says that it is unknown whether he died in Arkansas or in Louisiana. This entire article should be vetted for consistent (and hence accurate) information. (talk) 01:56, 1 January 2010 (UTC)

Automobile Insignia?[edit]

Is the graphic file found in the Effects of expedition in North America section - - actually relevant to this article? I'm not saying it isn't, but if it is, the article needs some clarification of its relevance.

BTW, I think I can provide some needed citations for this section. Downstrike (talk) 04:34, 9 March 2010 (UTC)

I think its supposed to be with the section below that where it discusses places and the car named after him. Altho no really discusses, m ore a list of trivia.Heironymous Rowe (talk) 04:38, 9 March 2010 (UTC)
Thank you :^) Downstrike (talk) 07:44, 9 March 2010 (UTC)

Expedition Chronology[edit]

I try to find out in which year the expedition ended in Mexico: for this I have the following hints from the Article:

  • May 1539 landing at Shaw's Point, than around somewhere in Florida - Wintering there
  • from winter location (I guess it is meant Winter 1539/40) they turned north-east to Georgia - let's say: early Spring 1540?
  • Oct.1540 he hat the Fight in Mabila (according to some Articles in Wikipedia) against Chief Tuskaloosa
  • in Spring 1541 the Chickasaw attack them again
  • in May 1541 Spaniards reach the Missisippi
  • than they wintered in Autiamique - this must be the winter 1541/1542
  • "after a harsh winter..." - we are now in the Year 1542, in this Year they clashed with the Tula...
  • Jump backward: suddenly we are back in 1541, when the Expedition became the first Europeans to see the Hot Springs
  • Jump forward: De Soto dies in May 1542
  • than no more timehelp, but in "July they set off down the Mississippi..." - this must be July 1542
  • "Taking about two weeks to make the journey..." - the Journey takes 2 Weeks time? ok
  • "After about 50 Days..." - 50 Days are a little more than 2 weeks or is with the 2 Weeks only the shipping till the mouth of the Mississippi meant? and if so: count the 50 days from the mouth of M or from beginning (July)
  • I would guess: the Expedition was "finished" 50 Days after July - erm... 1542? than the Quote: "De Soto's expedition had explored La Florida for three years without finding..." includes the year in Florida direct? was the year 1539 really a part of this Expedition?
  • I guess we can say, when they reached "safe" Pánuco the Expedititon was finished?
  • my main problem is my bad english and so it is no wonder, if I understood things wrong or mistranslate them into my german but can somebody tell me if I see the chronology correct? Expedititon ended "50 Days after July" (whatever that date may be, I guess September 1542)? Thanks in advice and please forgive me my bad english -- Hartmann Schedel cheers 14:31, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
The expedition arrived in "La Florida"(which is what they termed the entire southeast, not just the modern state of Florida) in the spring of 1539 and and arrived in Mexico in the summer of 1542, which would make the entire expedition just over 3 yrs time. As for the chronological dicrepancy concerning the Hot Springs in 1541, I reearranged that to put it in its proper place. Heiro 19:57, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
thank you Heiro -- Hartmann Schedel cheers 07:18, 25 August 2010 (UTC)

Edit request from Michaelt13, 23 December 2010[edit]

{{edit semi-protected}}

  Please correct the spelling of the word "substantiated" in this article.
 It is spelled with the "n" left out. Thank you.Michaelt13 (talk) 07:59, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

Michaelt13 (talk) 07:59, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

Done. Thanks for the heads-up! Boneyard90 (talk) 12:34, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

Archaeologist has found evidence of De Soto's expedition[edit]

I will leave this news article for those more able than myself to synthesize its content and corroborate with other sources ...

Benyoch ...Don't panic! Don't panic!... (talk) 06:09, 9 July 2012 (UTC)

Furthermore, the following is a Google News compilation of news references ....

De Soto: Fearless trailblazer or failed treasure hunter? Gainesville Sun - ‎5 hours ago‎

By Susan Latham Carr Spanish conquistador Hernando De Soto was an accomplished horseman and lancer and a fearless adventurer. His passion for conquest and his desire for gold fueled his 16th century expeditions in Central and South America and, ...

Authentication as important as De Soto find itself - ‎10 hours ago‎

By Fred Hiers Archaeologist Ashley White is following historical bread crumbs left behind nearly 500 years ago. The trail leads to a site where, in the summer of 1539, Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto and hundreds of his men camped in present day ...

Archaeologist's find could rewrite history books - ‎10 hours ago‎

By Fred Hiers Hernando De Soto's route through Florida is as elusive to modern archaeologists as the gold the famed Spanish explorer sought throughout the southeastern United States. Ever since De Soto's 600 men set foot on the shores of Tampa Bay, ...

Authenticating artifacts key in De Soto discovery News Chief - ‎18 hours ago‎

By Fred Hiers The trail leads to a site where, in the summer of 1539, Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto and hundreds of his men camped in present day Marion County south of Orange Lake, archaeologists now think. There is only one other confirmed De ...

Elusive artifacts the 'bread crumbs" leading to de Soto's camp Sarasota Herald-Tribune - ‎Jul 8, 2012‎

The trail leads to a site where, in the summer of 1539, Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto and hundreds of his men camped midway between present-day Ocala and Gainesville, archaeologists now believe. Despite De Soto's well-known landing spot on Tampa ...

De Soto find reshapes history of Ocala Ocala - ‎Jul 8, 2012‎

By Tom McNiff White, a local archaeologist of some international renown, had seen stories in the paper about various discoveries in Marion County and wanted to know if we'd like to write about his find, too. All archaeological discoveries are neat, ...

Artifacts: The De Soto site Gainesville Sun - ‎Jul 7, 2012‎

These three Spanish coins were discovered by Dr. Ashley White at the Hernando De Soto encampment site at his family's property near Orange Lake. Archaeological artifacts discovered at the site of Hernando De Soto's encampment near Orange Lake include ...

Benyoch ...Don't panic! Don't panic!... (talk) 06:18, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

Seinfeld connection[edit]

During a Seinfeld episode George Costanza says De Soto is his favorite explorer. PortlandOregon97217 (talk) 08:49, 11 November 2012 (UTC)

Category removed[edit]

My mistake. The reason I removed the category 'Spanish colonial governors and administrators' is because the article is already under its subcategory 'Governors of Cuba' not because he was not a governor of any Spanish colony. My apologies. Thanks. Briarfallen (talk) 18:46, 9 April 2013 (UTC)

Rewrite and Neutrality Tag[edit]

This article is anything but neutral and requires nothing short of a rewrite. Where's the discussion of de Soto's fortune from slaving? De Soto ordering the mutilation of Native Americans? The discussion of the potentially millions dead due to de Soto's pigs? Entire sections contain no references whatsoever and usesterminology like "recently", "the latest", and "current". It contains dubious, out of context lines presented as fact such as "When Chief Hirrihigua of the Uzita ordered Ortiz to be roasted alive, his daughter reportedly begged for the Spaniard's life", echoing similarly dubious claims like that of John Smith. De Soto's kidnapping of the Lady of Cofitachequi isn't even mentioned—according to this article, he just stopped over for a bit, maybe for tea!

Further, words are randomly italicized. De Sota's infamous treatment of the Coosa is completely glossed over ("De Soto's expedition spent another month in the Coosa chiefdom before turning south toward the Gulf of Mexico to meet two ships bearing fresh supplies from Havana.") Additionally, whoever wrote this also decided that they knew better than scholars and synthesized a number of sources to come up with something like a cohesive narrative, which is hardly what the historical record reflects. Reading this, one would never suspect that de Soto came as a ruthless conquerer. Was this article written by some local tourist bureau? :bloodofox: (talk) 02:47, 27 September 2013 (UTC)