The Spanish Conquistadors were those who initially expanded the Spanish Empire. The word Conquistador literally means conqueror – the men and women who explored the New World, and claimed it’s land for the Spanish crown. To be a Spanish Conquistador wasn’t at all easy, it involved a dangerous boat journey to a land never seen before. A dangerous land full of natives wanting to capture and kill Europeans. Those natives were said to be savage cannibals. But the Spanish Conquistadors were just as savage in their quests for gold and land. The Spanish conquest of the Americas is easily one of the most interesting chapters in human history. A chapter written by the Spanish Conquistadors themselves.
Hernando de Soto
Hernando de Soto led the first major expedition into what is now the United States. During this, he became the first white man to cross the Mississippi River. The purpose of his journey was to find gold and to explore new lands. Those were the two aims most common for Spanish Conquistadors. After leading a previous expedition in South-America, he landed in Florida with his crew. They traveled North-west until they encountered the fortress of Mabila. This was a fortress pretending to be just a small peaceful town. But inside the town were a force of 2500 native soldiers waiting to attack Hernando de Soto’s expedition as soon as they get close enough. So they entered the town to be met by a surprise attack. They retreated out of the town to continue the battle. But the natives simply closed the town gates for defensive purposes. So Hernando de Soto simply set fire the the fortress town and guarded the exit so that none could leave. At least 2500 died in the blaze.