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Hernando de Soto was a Spanish explorer and conquistador who participated in the conquests of Central America and Peru and discovered the Mississippi River.
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De Soto's voyage would, in fact, mark the first time that a European team of explorers had traveled via the Mississippi River.
After crossing the Mississippi de Soto was struck with fever. He died on May 21, 1542, in Ferriday, Louisiana. Members of his crew sank his body in the river that he had discovered. By that time, almost half of de Soto's men had been taken out by disease or in battle against the Indians. In his will, de Soto named Luis de Moscoso Alvarado the new leader of the expedition.
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Discover unexpected relationships between famous figures by exploring Biography.com's group of famous explorers. Browse some of the world's most famous adventure-seekers, including Christopher Columbus, Louis Joliet, Jacques Marquette, William Clark, Ernest Shackleton, Diego Velázquez, Matthew Henson, Leif Eriksson and Thor Heyerdahl.
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