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Gallery: Conclusion

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Actors portraying Spanish Conquistadores march through the American wilderness.

Narrator: "They had journeyed over 4000 miles, at one point even coming within 400 miles of Francisco Vascez de Coranado's expedition which was being led at the same time through the Southwest."

Narrator: "Juan Rodriguez Cabrijo was also exploring the California coastline by ship during this time. European competition for this new land was fierce, even among the Spanish themselves."

Narrator: "Of the nearly 700 Spaniards who began the journey with DeSoto over four years earlier, only 311 survived."

Narrator: "The conquistadores had killed or displaced thousands of Indians throughout the Southeast, and like other expeditions, had unknowingly brought diseases to the new world for which local tribes had no natural immunity."

Narrator: "After all this, the Spaniards had not found even a single ounce of gold nor established a single permanent settlement. For Spain, Hernando DeSoto's exploration was a disappointment."

Narrator: "For the native chiefdoms of the southeast, the expedition was devastating."

An actor portraying a Spanish Soldier riding a horse.

Actors silhouetted against the sunset.

Narrator: "The most important sources on the La Florida expeditions were accounts published years later by survivors."

Narrator: "These accounts outlined the natural richness of the land, where nature itself was the greatest treasure, and encouraged future explorers to attempt to settle and colonize."

Narrator: "Their description of cultures previously unknown to Europeans gave renaissance philosophers new food for speculation about the history of mankind."

Actor: "Our quest for new colonies and precious gold was a failure."

Actor: "As survivors we were happy just to escape with our lives, but hopefully others will learn from our mistakes and misfortunes, and see the opportunity here for new enterprise and expansion of the empire for God and King."

A replica of a Spanish helmet used at the time of the DeSoto expedition.

Narrator: "To this day, the DeSoto expedition is controversial. He is thought of by some as a brilliant cavalryman and fighter, and by others as destructive, arrogant and brutal."

Narrator: "What we do know is that the story of Hernando DeSoto continues to provide us a unique and valuable insight into the history of America."


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