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Landing of De Soto Expedition
De Soto National Memorial Superintendent Scott Pardue invites the public to join the park in a day of activities on Saturday, May 26th to commemorate the 468th anniversary of the beginning of the Hernando de Soto expedition. This particular Entrada (Spanish for first expedition and conquest of a country) began some 468 years ago when Spanish conquistadors, horses, and war dogs splashed ashore in the lower Tampa Bay area on May 30, 1539. What followed were violent encounters with Native Americans while searching fruitlessly for a civilization possessing gold and jewels like the Aztecs of Mexico or the Incas of Peru. Four years later, with De Soto dead and half his men gone, the expedition found its way back to Spanish settlements in Mexico. Eventually the descriptions of new peoples and abundant lands provided by survivors would help to inspire other Europeans to colonize North America.
Saturday, May 26th activities will be as follows:
9:30 Ranger Talk - What Brought De Soto to La Florida? How Would Their Arrival Impact the Culture of the Natives? (Meet at the Visitor Center).
9:45 – 10:45
The Landing - Be there as De Soto and his army begin their four year, four thousand mile odyssey!
Conquistador Walk – Join the conquistadors, on a walk through the mangroves to Camp Uzita with stops along the way to discuss life in “La Florida.”
11:00 La Comida- Come learn from volunteer Sheila Benjamin about the delights of a 16th century Spanish kitchen. Meet at the chickee hut near the VisitorCenter.
12:00 Warriors: Tools of the Trade – See (and hear) a matchlock musket (arquebus) being fired along with other period weapons demonstrated in Camp Uzita.
1:00 Legacy of the De Soto Expedition- Meet for the final program in CampUzita.
2:00 End of Scheduled Event Activities