Riverview in Hillsborough County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
Saved from Slavery
Florida De Soto Trail
—June 20, 1539 —
Juan Ortiz, a lost Spaniard from an earlier expedition with Pánfilo de Narváez, is found by De Soto’s men not far from here. He tells his story –
Ten years ago I was captured by Chief Ucita. I later escaped to the village of Mocoso, with the aid of Chief Ucita’s daughter, who had saved my life. Living among the people of Mocoso, I assumed their dress and traditional tattoos. Speaking several Indian languages, I helped De Soto communicate with tribes in the area.
”And as the [soldiers] ran forth against them, the Indians, fleeing, plunged into the forest, and one of them came forth to the road shouting and saying ‘Sirs, for the love of God and of St. Mary do not kill me: I am a Christian, like you, and I am a native of Seville, and my name is Juan Ortiz.’ ”
- Account by Rodrigo Rangel
The De Soto Chronicles
The Native Path
It was common for chiefs in La Florida to use war captives and shipwrecked Spaniards as slaves. These prisoners served the village as a source of labor or as a trade commodity. Ortiz was captured by the Ucita while on a mission to find the lost Narváez expedition.
The Conquistador Trail
Just like the other Spanish conquistadors from this time period, when De Soto entered a
Erected by Florida De Soto Trail, Florida Department of Transportation, the Florida Park Service, and the National Park Service.
Location. 27° 50.432′ N, 82° 18.063′ W. Marker is in Riverview, Florida, in Hillsborough County. Marker can be reached from McMullen Road 0.9 miles south of Boyette Road, on the left when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is located within Bell Creek Nature Preserve, at the trailhead near the south end of the parking lot. Marker is at or near this postal address: 10940 McMullen Road, Riverview FL 33569, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 7 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Brandon Homestead (approx. 6.7 miles away); Brandon Family Cemetery (approx. 6.8 miles away); A Butterfly’s Habitat (approx. 6.9 miles away); Brandon Masonic Lodge No. 114, F. & A.M. (approx. 6.9 miles away); Storm Water and the Estuary (approx. 7 miles away); Manatee Scar Identification (approx. 7 miles away); The Life Cycle of the Monarch Butterfly (approx. 7 miles away); What Role Do Mangroves Play In An Estuary? (approx. 7 miles away).
More about this marker. Marker is a large, composite plaque mounted vertically within a heavy-duty wooden kiosk.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Florida De Soto Trail
Also see . . .
1. Florida's De Soto Trail. Hernando de Soto landed at Tampa Bay in 1539 and made his way north in search of gold and riches. A controversial figure in American history, Spanish Conquistador Hernando de Soto is regarded as a hero and brave explorer by some — and an overzealous madman by others. The De Soto Trail shows him as a product of Medieval Europe, a brutal society forged over 780 years of warfare. It also tells the story of the Native American peoples of 16th-century Florida, a highly advanced collection of chiefdoms struggling against each other to gain dominance over their regions. (Submitted on November 4, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
2. Saved from Slavery Marker - full panel in PDF format. (Submitted on November 4, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
3. Florida's De Soto Trail map - full panel in PDF format. (Submitted on November 4, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
4. The Survival of the Spanish Soldier Juan Ortiz in Florida After the Narváez Expedition. It is well known that the Spanish Expedition to Florida led by Pánfilo de Narváez was a disaster and that almost all of the six hundred members were never seen again. It is also well known that Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca and three companions made it back to the Spanish Empire after eight years of captivity and wandering. Less well known is that another member of the expedition survived in Florida for eight years. This is the story of that survivor. Ortiz lived safely for many years in the village of Mosocos. He became tanned and tattooed and looked virtually the same as the others in the village. (Submitted on November 4, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Categories. • Colonial Era • Exploration • Native Americans • Notable Events •
Credits. This page was last revised on December 31, 2018. This page originally submitted on November 4, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 27 times since then and 3 times this year. Last updated on November 21, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on November 4, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. 7. submitted on December 28, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.