"Hudson has brought alive the world changed by Hernando de Soto and the consequences for those whose home it was."
—Times Literary Supplement
Between 1539 and 1542 Hernando de Soto led a small army on a desperate journey of exploration of almost four thousand miles across the Southeast. Until now, his path has been one of history’s most intriguing mysteries. With Knights of Spain, Warriors of the Sun, anthropologist Charles Hudson offers a solution to the question, “Where did de Soto go?” Using a new route reconstruction, for the first time the story of the de Soto expedition can be laid on a map, and in many instances it can be tied to specific archaeological sites.
Arguably the most important event in the history of the Southeast in the sixteenth century, De Soto’s journey cut a bloody and indelible swath across both the landscape and native cultures in a quest for gold and personal glory. The desperate Spanish army followed the sunset from Florida to Texas before abandoning its mission. De Soto’s one triumph was that he was the first European to explore the vast region that would be the American South, but he died on the banks of the Mississippi River a broken man in 1542.
Abundantly illustrated, Knights of Spain, Warriors of the Sun is a clearly written narrative that unfolds against the exotic backdrop of a now extinct social and geographic landscape. Hudson masterfully chronicles both De Soto’s expedition and the native societies he visited. A blending of archaeology, history, and historical geography, this is a monumental study of the sixteenth-century Southeast.
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