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Bibb County Historical Markers

Desoto in Georgia

  • Source: David Seibert
  • Marker: Desoto in Georgia
  • Location: Central City Park near levee, Macon


In May 1539 Hernando de Soto landed in Florida with over 600 people, 220 horses and mules, and a herd of swine reserved for famine. Fired by his success in Pizarro’s conquest of Peru, De Soto had been granted the rights, by the King of Spain, to explore, then govern, southeastern North America.

After wintering in Tallahassee, the De Soto expedition set out on a quest for gold which eventually spanned four years and crossed portions of of nine states. This was the first recorded European exploration of the interior of the Southeast. Over 300 members died on the expedition, including De Soto in 1542. This tremendous effort forever changed the lives of the Indians who were infected with old world diseases, killed in battle, enslaved, made destitute and sometimes befriended.

Many scholars believ this was the general area where De Soto spent March 23 - April 2, 1540. During this period De Soto visited the Chiefdom of Ichisi. Members of the expedition erected a cross and held religious services at the principal town on April 1, then traveled eastward.