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Hernando De Soto

river mississippi

De Soto, Hernando (1500?–42), Spanish explorer, discoverer of the Mississippi River. He served as second in command in Pizarro's conquests in Peru (1531–35), and supported the Inca emperor Atahualpa. He returned to Spain with a fortune and set out again to explore the Florida region. He landed in 1539 at Charlotte Harbor and spent 2 years exploring what is now the southeastern United States. He reached the Mississippi River in May 1541. Turning back in 1542, he died of illness.

See also: Mississippi River.

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