By James A. Henretta, Rebecca Edwards, Robert O. Self
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Additional resources for America's History, Volume 1: To 1877
On Sunday, the tenth of October , the Governor [de Soto] entered in the town of Tascalua, which was called Athahachi, a new town; and the cacique [the Calusa chieftain] was on a balcony that was made on a mound to one side of the plaza, about his head a certain headdress like an almaizar [turban] worn like a Moor, which gave him an appearance of authority, and a pelote or blanket of feathers down to his feet, very authoritative, seated upon some high cushions, and many principals of his Indians with him.
15 VOICES FROM ABROAD Hernán de Soto De Soto’s March of Destruction F rom 1539 to 1542, Hernán de Soto and an army of 600 Spaniards roamed through northern Florida and the southeastern part of the present-day United States. They killed, raped, and enslaved hundreds of Indians from many different peoples, and inadvertently introduced smallpox, measles, and other viruses that took the lives of tens of thousands more. All to no avail: The Spanish found no gold, de Soto died of a fever in 1542, and only a few hundred of his soldiers survived the ordeal.
Aztec merchants forged trading routes that crisscrossed the empire, importing furs, gold, textiles, food, and obsidian from as far north as the Rio Grande and as far south as present-day Panama. By 1500, Tenochtitlán was a magniﬁcent metropolis with more than 200,000 inhabitants — far more populous than most European cities. Its splendor and wealth dazzled Spanish soldiers. “These great towns and pyramids and buildings arising from the water, all made of stone, seemed like an enchanted vision,” marveled one Spaniard.