St. Marks in Wakulla County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
Florida De Soto Trail
— October 16, 1539 —
In searching this area for a usable harbor, Hernando de Soto’s captain Juan de Anasco has found evidence of Pánfilo de Narváez’ expedition of 1528…
In an overgrown clearing, we have discovered many horse skulls and bones, evidence that Narváez and his men slaughtered their horses for food. The stumps of trees tell of their escape from La Florida on crude rafts. We have also come upon several marked graves of Spaniards who died from starvation, disease, and Apalachee attacks. In remembrance, I have named the nearby bay La Bahia de Caballos - The Bay of the Horses.
The Conquistador Trail
Narváez and his men built a fleet of rafts in an attempt to leave La Florida for Mexico. Following the coast, they were hit by a storm off present-day Texas. All but 7 drowned when their crafts capsized. The survivors spent the next 7 years walking through the Southwest to Mexico City. Before the start of his expedition, De Soto consulted with survivor Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca, whose stories about La Florida and Cibola’s Seven Cities of Gold inspired De Soto.
- Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca, Castaways, 1542,
survivor Narváez expedition
The Native Path
The Apalachee used the experience gained fighting Narváez to oppose De Soto. They attacked the Spanish relentlessly during the army’s occupation of their village Anhayca. Burning houses and crops, the Apalachee denied the conquistadors any comfort during the winter of 1539.
Erected by Florida De Soto Trail, Florida Department of Transportation, the Florida Park Service, and the National Park Service. (Marker Number 32.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Colonial Era • Exploration • Native Americans • Notable Events. A significant historical date for this entry is October 16, 1539.
Location. 30° 9.257′ N, 84° 12.257′ W. Marker is in St. Marks, Florida, in Wakulla County. Marker is on Riverside Drive, 0.1 miles west of Port Leon Drive (State Road 363), on the leftTouch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Saint Marks FL 32355, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Port Leon (a few steps from this marker); Bo Lynn's Grocery (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); St. Marks Bike Trail Park (about 700 feet away); The City of St. Marks (approx. ¼ mile away); San Marcos de Apalache (approx. 0.4 miles away); The Old Store on the Wakulla River (approx. 0.4 miles away); Fort St. Marks Military Cemetery (approx. 0.4 miles away); Fort San Marcos de Apalache (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in St. Marks.
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 . . . The Misadventures of Pánfilo de Narváez and Nuñez de Cabeza de Vaca. Pánfilo de Narváez arrived near Tampa Bay with a large army from Spain on April 14, 1528. The Spanish government had given him permission to settle and rule the land along the Gulf Coast from Northern Mexico to the Florida peninsula. When Narváez landed, he took three hundred soldiers and forty (Submitted on October 25, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Credits. This page was last revised on January 14, 2021. It was originally submitted on October 25, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 899 times since then and 206 times this year. Last updated on November 21, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on October 25, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. 3, 4. submitted on November 4, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. 5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on October 25, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.