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What were Hernando de Soto's accomplishments?

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Quick Answer

Hernando de Soto's accomplishments included capturing Peru, helping the city of Havana after the French burned it and capturing the Mississippi River. de Soto managed this, despite coming from a poor background.

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Full Answer

de Soto was a Spanish explorer who began his period of exploration with Francisco Pizarro in 1532, and assisted with the latter's mission to conquer Peru. After returning to Spain with 18,000 Incas of gold, de Soto became restless and began exploring other parts of the Americas. In 1538, using all his resources, he gathered 10 ships and set sail for Cuba, where he aided the city of Havana following the French sacking and burning it. He assisted the Spanish crown in capturing Florida, as well as Alabama and Georgia.

In 1541, de Soto captured the Mississippi River. This was the first time a European team of explorers traveled the river. In 1542, de Soto developed a fever while in Louisiana and eventually died.

While de Soto's activities did not obtain much prosperity for the Spanish crown, there were some positive consequences. His period of exploration helped Spain expand its knowledge of North American geography and biology. In addition, they were the last period of explorers to document and witness Mississippi culture. The pigs de Soto and his team transported to the United States eventually escaped and established the razorback pigs of the southeastern region.

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