By Mary Ann Wells
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Additional info for Native land: Mississippi, 1540-1798
In keeping with my goal to write for general audiences I have made primary sources of information evident within the text, which allowed me to keep source notes minimal, informal and grouped by chapter to avoid disruption of the narrative. Since I am a storyteller it is not surprising that I view history as story. In this book I am presenting the story of Mississippi from 1500 to 1798 in the spirit of the Native American narrative tradition. Special acknowledgments go to Dr. Galloway, a scholar of the period and of the Mississippi Choctaws, who served as editor during the early phases of this project; my resident critic and historian, Dr.
But the people here were not afraid. Even when the travelers told of the death that came with the strangers, when they spoke of the pain, when they recounted the insults to the people, when they told of the assaults on the honor of all living things, there was no fear. ''The people asked why would these creatures come here? There was no gold. But the strangers were coming and nothing could stop them. They believed gold was hidden everywhere. The news the travelers brought became more terrible. People began to ask themselves if these strangers were human beings.
But Soto wanted more. Pizarro had understood him well: Soto lusted for power, a kingdom of his own. After unsuccessfully petitioning the royal court for permission to lead expeditions to Quito and the South Seas, Soto received permission to lead an expedition to Florida. The king named him governor of Cuba and Florida and promised to make him marquis of some of the new territories he conquered. Soto did not lack for volunteers. Adventurers and fortune seekers, veterans of Soto's Peruvian days, professional soldiers, and a few bored young noblemen, as well as his own kinsmen, enlisted, attracted by the great wealth of Mexico and Peru that had already been extracted as well as by the lucrative Indian slave trade.