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The first white men entered what is now the State of Arkansas June 18, 1541. Charles V King of Spain commissioned Hernando de Soto, 1538, governor of Cuba and general of Florida. DeSoto landed in Florida May 31, 1539, near where the city of Tampa now stands with a military force of a thousand men. He had been commissioned by the king to explore Florida as then the whole Mainland of North America was called. After due preparation the expedition set out for the interior. During the next two years, from the middle of 1539 until June 1541, they traveled more than a thousand miles through the present States of Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi.
The Highlights of Arkansas History, 1922, by Dallas Tabor Herndon, p. 6)