The end of the Mississippi era was marked by the Europeans' arrival to what they called the "New World." Columbus landed in the Americas in 1492. Then, in 1513, Ponce de Leon led the first European expedition to Florida and declared it for Spain. Spanish explorer Balboa discovered the Pacific later that same year. And Jacques Cartier mapped the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1535 – opening the waterway for European penetration of North America. All of these explorers set the scene for Hernando de Soto, the Spanish conquistador and the first European to encounter the Chickasaws.

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Hernando de Soto

Led the first European expedition deep into the territory of the modern-day United States
Hernando de Soto was a Spanish explorer and conquistador in the 1500s and came in contact with several Native American tribes exploring North America.

Robert de La Salle

Famed explorer of the New World who encountered the Chickasaw people
Robert de La Salle was born in 1643 in Rouen, France. He was an avid explorer and fascinated with science and nature.