Exploring Florida History
Home > Photos > Historic > Hernando DeSoto in America > Wandering Beyond the Mississippi
Site Map

Gallery: Wandering Beyond the Mississippi

Click on a thumbnail photo to view the full picture.

Narrator: "The battle of Mobila was the turning point of the expedition."

Narrator: "DeSoto now had a major dilemma on his hands."

Narrator: "Ortiz, the interpreter, told DeSoto of Indian reports of ships in the bay just a few days south of their location."

Two Native American reenactors spot ships in the harbor.

Narrator: "DeSoto knew [the ships] carried much needed supplies and reinforcements."

Narrator: "However, he also knew that after the torturous journey his men had endured for the past year and a half, chances were good that once they spotted the ships for themselves, they would refuse to go on."

Spanish Soldiers recover from their hard journey.

Narrator: "DeSoto had a lot at stake. He had invested his entire fortune in this expedition, and his only hope was to find his cache of gold. He also knew if his army failed he would never command another."

Narrator: "In a desperate attempt to salvage something from the expedition, he decided to push his tired and rebellious men northward away from the ships and back into the interior of North America. There were more battles fought with local tribes before they set up."

Narrator: "In the spring of 1541 the army resumed their march. In early May they reached the bank of the widest river they had ever encountered."

Actors portraying (from left) Luis De Moscoso, Hernando DeSoto, and Juan Ortiz, arrive at the Mississippi River.

Narrator: "It was slow moving with no rapids and a muddy brown color to the water. They had arrived at the mighty Mississippi River."

Narrator: "Despite warnings from hundreds of local Indians not to proceed across this river boundary, DeSoto decided to press on."

Narrator: "The army spent a month building boats to cross the river with their meager supplies and diminished herd of horses."

Narrator: "The crossing was successful and the conquistadores continued on. Although now truly wandering, with no specific goals or destination."

An actor portraying a woodworker cuts a log.

Narrator: "The aimless expedition spent the entire summer and fall of 1541 roaming through a large area that is now Arkansas until forced to make camp for the winter. The gold they sought continued to elude them."

Actor: "The time had come for our DeSoto to face his misfortune and now unbearable situation."

Actor: "We have been seeking this mythical treasure trove of gold for almost three years."

Actor: "We have lost half our men. Of our original 223 horses, only forty remain. We had not settled the colonies or secured the harbors that King Charles wanted so desperately."

Actor: "And perhaps worst of all, we lost our only interpreter, Juan Ortiz, during the cold winter. DeSoto finally realized it was time to turn back."


Home > Photos > Historic > Hernando DeSoto in America > Wandering Beyond the Mississippi
Site Map

Exploring Florida: Social Studies Resources for Students and Teachers
Produced by the Florida Center for Instructional Technology,
College of Education, University of South Florida © 2004.