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Gallery: DeSoto Marches North

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Narrator: "During his time with the Indians, Ortiz had heard of a powerful kingdom to the north, where warriors were said to wear helmets of gold."

An actor portraying Juan Ortiz draws a map with a stick.

Narrator: "DeSoto sent out a scouting party. They returned with a message that the gold could be found at a place called Cale."

Actor: "We left Pedro Calderone with our ships and 100 soldiers in reserve in the settlement we called Uceta, after the local chief."

Actor: "Our other goals of founding colonies and harbors in the new world for our great King, Charles the 5th, were dashed from DeSoto's mind. His obsession was treasure, so on we marched."

Reenactors wearing the typical armor of Spanish soldiers of the period of the Hernando DeSoto expedition.

Luis de Moscoso carries a large battle axe through the Florida wilderness.

Reenactors wearing the typical armor of Spanish soldiers of the period of the Hernando DeSoto expedition.

Narrator: "The captured Indians were forced into service as porters and guides. It helped the Spaniards move faster, but was torturous for the Indians and displaced them deeply into areas inhabited by other tribes."

Actors portraying Indians captured by Hernando DeSoto carry supplies along a path.

Narrator: "As they reached Cale, near present day Ocala, they once again heard familiar information: no gold and supplies here, just a little further on."

Narrator: "The Indians were wise to the Europeans' determination to find this gold they so cherished. They had already had similar encounters with Ponce de Leon and De Narvaez. The surest way to rid their tribe of this menace was to talk of gold farther on."

Narrator: "The tactic worked, and on they marched towards present-day Gainesville."

Narrator: "But DeSoto had tactics of his own."

Narrator: "His strategy as he met with each new tribe was to take hostages and to release them only after the chief agreed to lead his expedition to the territory of the next tribe."

An actor portraying Hernando DeSoto inspects a Native American reenactor.

Narrator: "Brutal battles were often the result. Near present-day Live Oak, Florida, four hundred Indian warriors prepared a surprise attack."

Narrator: "But their bows and arrows were no match for the crossbows, gunpowder, horses, and steel blades of the Spaniards."

An actor portraying a Spanish soldier is felled with an arrow.

An actor portraying a Native American draws a bow and arrow.

An actor portraying a Spanish soldier aims a cross bow.

A reenactor aims a Harquebus, an early type of gun.

Luis de Moscoso aims a Harquebus.

Narrator: "All were killed or captured. "

Narrator: "The treatment was harsh for the captives, and those who created trouble were dealt with swiftly. Some lost hands or their nose, or were torn to pieces by the war dogs. The brutality of the Spanish Inquisition had found its way across the sea."

Narrator: "Yet there was cruelty on both sides, for similar fates awaited Spanish soldiers captured by Indians."

An engraving depicts Native Americans wielding weapons.

An engraving depicts Native Americans attacking a European.

Narrator: "As the expedition's first winter came, the group settled in a fruitful area near present day Tallahassee."

Narrator: "They evicted the local Apalachee community and took over their village. "

Narrator: "In retaliation, the Apalachee burned their village to the ground rather than see it remain in control of the Spaniards."

Narrator: "The ruins provided little shelter during the cold winter."

Narrator: "Almost all the captive Indians died of exposure."

An engraving depicts Native Americans carrying away the dead.

Narrator: "But the region had abundant food and DeSoto decided to use the area as his new base of operations."

Narrator: "He sent a small band of soldiers back to Uceta to bring up Calderone's one hundred men and his ships."

Narrator: "Throughout the winter the Apalachee warriors continued to attack with their long bows."

Narrator: "The skill of these archers won a new-found respect from DeSoto's army, but it did not deter them from their quest."

An engraving depicts Native American archers firing arrows.


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