Hernando de Sow was a Spanish explorer who came to the Southeast in 1539 looking for gold and other riches.
He and his 600 men were the first non-Indians to meet most of the tribes there.
The encounters were often violent. De Soto’s men tried to kill or enslave many of the Indians they came upon, and the tribes fought back. De Soto’s travels ended when he died in 1542. But news of his explorations and of the rich lands in the Southeast encouraged other non-Indians to follow.
Over the next three centuries, white traders and settlers from Spain, England, and France steadily moved into southeastern Indian territory.