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The first expedition began on December 1, 1566 and lasted until March 7, 1567. Pardo and his company of 125 soldiers moved northward. Pardo had to live off of the land or get provisions from the natives. This forced Pardo to follow a route that followed population centers as opposed to a chosen course. Pardo visited many native towns and built several forts for protection and food storage. Pardo was located by a runner bearing a letter from the commander of Sante Elena ordering him to return at once to defend the colony from French retribution over the sack of Fort Caroline. Pardo left his chaplain and four soldiers near present day Salisbury, North Carolina.
Pardo also left behind his chaplain and a few soldiers to evangelize the Indians. According to anthropologist/historian Charles Hudson and as evidenced by the second expedition, Pardo must have also instructed Indians to build houses for the Spanish troops and to store corn exclusively for Spanish troops. Meanwhile, Sergeant Moyano and his men at Fort San Juan searched for minerals and helped a rival tribe defeat the Chiscas.
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