Ferdinand de Soto - Frederick Ober
Fernando de Soto made a name for himself as a young man, during the conquest of Peru under Pizarro. With the gains he made in Peru he equipped an expedition into the unknown regions of Florida and the Southwestern United States in hopes of discovering yet another empire, and more gold. After two years of fruitless wondering, and many encounters with Indian, de Soto discovered the Mississippi river, but failed to realize its significance, considering it only as an obstacle in his quest for gold and empire.
FERDINAND DE SOTO.
XVITH CENTURY. The "first and best" of three contemporary narratives, describing the expedition of De Soto, was printed in Portugal, in 1557, as:
The True Relation of the Fidalgos of Elvas. It was translated and reprinted by Hakluyt in 1600, and appeared again in 1611, as The Worthye and Famous Historie of the Travailles, Discovery, and Conquest of Terra Florida. The latest edition, in English, was published in New York, 1904.
The Relation of the Conquest of Florida was written by Luis de Biedma, the king's factor on the expedition, as early as 1544, but did not appear in print until 1841.
Another personal narrative was that of Rodrigo Ranjel, de Soto's secretary, which, though written in the form of a journal, when on the march, also remained in manuscript for more than three hundred years, and was first issued in 1855.
XVIITH AND XVIIITH CENTURIES. La Florida del Inca, by Garcilaso (or Garcilasso) de la Vega, was derived from soldiers who were with De Soto (though more than forty years after the return of the expedition), and was published first in Lisbon, 1605; in Madrid, 1722. Translated and republished, New York, 1904.
The narratives of the Fidalgo and Ranjel, though written and published independently, are generally corroborative, and agree in important particulars with the "Florida" of the Inca.
XIXTH CENTURY. The Conquest of Florida, by Theodore Irving, New York, 1851, is based mainly upon the Inca's history, and is quite complete.
Buckingham Smith, Spanish scholar and indefatigable historian, devoted much time to original research, and published The Career of Hernando de Soto, 1864, as well as other valuable papers.