After wintering near Tallahassee they went N through Georgia and the Carolinas into Tennessee, then turned S into Alabama, where De Soto was wounded in a battle with Native Americans. He was so determined to continue his treasure hunt that he refused to inform his men that Spanish vessels were off the coast. In the spring of 1541 they again set forth and were probably the first Europeans to see and cross the Mississippi. A journey up the Arkansas River and into Oklahoma disclosed no treasures, and, discouraged, they turned back to the banks of the Mississippi. There De Soto died; he was buried in the river, so that the Native Americans, whom he had intimidated and ill-used, would not learn of his death.
His men went west again across the Red River into N Texas, then returned to the Mississippi and followed it to the sea. A remnant of the expedition made its way down the coast to arrive at Veracruz in 1543. The chief chronicle of the expedition is by a Portuguese called the Gentleman of Elvas.
See biographies by R. B. C. Graham (1924), T. Maynard (1930, repr. 1969), B. Shipp (1831, repr. 1971), and M. Albornoz (1986); studies by R. F. Schell (1966) and P. Lily (1983).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 35.4 square miles (91.6 km²), of which, 31.5 square miles (81.5 km²) of it is land and 3.9 square miles (10.1 km²) of it (11.02%) is water.
There were 3,730 households out of which 18.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.8% were married couples living together, 7.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.6% were non-families. 26.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.21 and the average family size was 2.62.
In the CDP the population was spread out with 17.2% under the age of 18, 4.9% from 18 to 24, 20.8% from 25 to 44, 29.1% from 45 to 64, and 28.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 51 years. For every 100 females there were 97.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.9 males.
The median income for a household in the CDP was $29,121, and the median income for a family was $35,118. Males had a median income of $26,084 versus $21,460 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $15,030. About 11.6% of families and 15.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.7% of those under age 18 and 11.0% of those age 65 or over.