One of de Soto's first expeditions was to South America. He traveled to the area with another explorer named Francisco de Cordoba. Upon reaching South America, de Soto betrayed Cordoba and aided a rival in killing him. De Soto stayed in the area and gained his fortunes through the slave trade. In 1531, explorer Francisco Pizarro asked de Soto to join him on a expedition of Peru. Pizarro and de Soto ended up killing the leader of the Incas and conquering the Inca empire.
De Soto was later granted the right by the king of Spain to explore and conquer Florida. He was also appointed governor of Cuba. In May 1539, de Soto arrived in Florida with soldiers and other explorers. During the course of the next few years, de Soto had violent interactions with the native people of the land while exploring the area for riches, such as gold and silver. De Soto had many battles with the native people and enslaved those he conquered. In June 1542, de Soto died while exploring one area in the state. His body was buried near the Mississippi River.Learn more about Modern History