In recent years no single Spanish conquistador has
received greater attention from historians, archaeologists and various
government agencies, than Hernando de Soto. Efforts to trace and mark
his expedition's wanderings through the southeast of the present day
United States have been extensive. Intensive scholarly research, focused
on the expedition, has sought to reveal the nature of early contact with
indigenous peoples. Archaeologists, working closely with historians,
have examined artifactual evidence to better understand the nature of
the expedition, its day to day existence, and its interaction with
With several exceptions, the historical documents
used in this renewed research are the same employed by the renowned U.
S. De Soto Commission of the 1930s. Although this reexamination is
useful, the general effort has failed to bring to light new information
about the expedition. Therefore, it is with considerable pleasure that
the P. K. Yonge Library of Florida History, University of Florida
Libraries, publishes Mr. Ignacio Avellaneda's Los Sobrevivientes.
Mr. Avellaneda is the first scholar to use new De Soto materials located
and acquired on microfilm by the Yonge Library. These documents are
drawn from the Archivo General de Indias in Sevilla, Spain and have
allowed Avellaneda to revise many previous conceptions about the
expedition. His work and the questions it raises will lead to further
studies of this significant event in the Spanish Borderlands.
Mr. Avellaneda is a native born Colombian scholar
currently in residence at the University of Florida. His extensive
research has taken him to the archives of the United States, Spain, and
Latin America. He received his bachelors degree at the University of
Illinois and his masters degree from the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology. After a distinguished business career he has chosen to
complete the Ph.D. program in history at the University of Florida.
Mr. Avellaneda has published numerous historical
studies in Latin America and United States periodicals and has had
several book length manuscripts accepted for publication. His major
field of expertise is the early period of conquest and settlement in the
Nuevo Reino de Granada.
Elizabeth Alexander, Librarian
P. K. Yonge Library of Florida History
University of Florida Libraries