John R. Swanton


It admits of no reasonable doubt that the place where Hernando de Soto’s army landed, at the end of May, 1539, was in Tampa Bay. Although I have considered other possibilities carefully I shall not enter upon a discussion of them in the present article. But while there has been almost unanimous agreement on this point, the exact location of the landing place within the bay has given occasion for very sharp differences of opinion for over a hundred years and almost every possible site has been made the basis for someone’s theory. Too many of these hypotheses have been put forth without an adequate study of the source materials, and the earlier speculators were particularly handicapped because they did have access to one of the most important of all our documents bearing upon the subject, the diary of Rodrigo Ranjel as preserved in the Historia General of Oviedo.