Topic: Hernando de Soto

Narrative of the Captivity of John Ortiz – Indian Captivities

John Ortiz, a Spaniard, Who was Eleven Years a Prisoner Among the Indians of Florida In the year 1528 Pamphilo de Narvaez, with a commission, constituting him governor of Florida, or “all the lands lying from the river of Palms to the cape of Florida,” sailed for that country with 400 foot and 20 horse, in five ships. With this expedition went a Spaniard, named John Ortiz, a native of Seville, whose connections were among the nobility of Castile. Although we have no account of what part Ortiz acted in Narvaez‘s expedition, or how he escaped its disastrous issue,...

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Castaways, Deserters, Refugees and Pirates

There is no accurate measure of the number of shipwrecks along the South Atlantic Coast and the Gulf of Mexico, but the number must be in the hundreds or even over a thousand. Also not known is how many shipwrecked sailors and passengers survived in North America during the 1500’s and 1600’s, or how many Sephardic Jews, Muslim Moors and European Protestants, escaping the Spanish Inquisition, landed on the shores of the present day Southeastern United States. Surviving archives, however, do furnish credible evidence of these peoples settling in the interior of the Southeast, while officially England was only colonizing the coastal regions.

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Hernando De Soto

With seven ships of his own providing, and accompanied by from six hundred to one thousand warlike and energetic adventurers, many of whom were of noble rank, Hernando De Soto set sail, in the month of April, 1538. Upwards of a year was spent, mostly upon the island of Cuba, before the fleet set sail for the Florida coast. In the latter part of May, 1539, the vessels came to anchor off the bay of Espiritu Santo, now Tampa Bay, on the western sea-board, and a large division of soldiers, both horse and foot, were landed. The Indians had...

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