Monday, April 9, 2018

The first European explorer to reach Arkansas was Hernando de Soto in 1540. He crossed the Mississippi and marched across Central Arkansas and the Ozark Mountains.  After finding nothing he considered of value and encountering native resistance the entire time, he and his men returned to the Mississippi River where de Soto fell ill.  From his deathbed he ordered his men to massacre all of the men of the nearby village of Anilco, who he feared had been plotting with a powerful polity down the Mississippi River, Quigualtam.  His men obeyed and did not stop with the men, but were said to have massacred women and children as well.  He died the following day.  His body was weighted down by sand and he was consigned to a watery grave in the Mississippi under cover of darkness.  For some reason he had 700 hogs at the time of his death, even though his men were starving because all they had to eat was maize stolen from Native Americans.

And so it seems once again we find that in order to remembered in the history books you don't have to be wise, kind, a good leader who cares for his men, or particularly clever, just march around claiming territory from people who have inferior armaments.

William A. Crafts