The Discovery and Conquest of Terra Florida, by Don Ferdinando de Soto and Six Hundred Spaniards His Followers

Written by a Gentleman of Elvas, Employed in All the Actions, and Translated out of Portuguese

The publications of the Hakluyt Society (founded in 1846) made available edited (and sometimes translated) early accounts of exploration. The first series, which ran from 1847 to 1899, consists of 100 books containing published or previously unpublished works by authors from Christopher Columbus to Sir Francis Drake, and covering voyages to the New World, to China and Japan, to Russia and to Africa and India. This volume is an eye-witness account by an anonymous Portuguese 'Gentleman of Elvas', describing Ferdinand de Soto's four-year expedition to Florida which landed in Tampa Bay in 1539 and marched hundreds of miles north-west through present-day Florida, Georgia and Alabama. De Soto died of fever in May 1542, and the survivors made their way back to Mexico in 1543. The text of this translation, by Richard Hakluyt himself, was published in 1611, and first appeared in this annotated edition in 1851.