Ruskin in Hillsborough County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
De Soto Trail
Staking Their Claim
You are standing along the historic route of the conquistador Hernando de Soto and his expedition through the Florida Native American territories in his quest for gold and glory
"The Florida Expedition"
• You are here ← E. G. Simmons Park (Native American Village of Uzita)
• Sea Routes
• Foot/Horse Trail
• Scout Party Trail
It's June 1, 1539...
Hernando de Soto and his men have established a fortified base camp in this area -
We are occupying an abandoned Indian village. To defend the site, we constructed a wooden palisade around the perimeter. I dispatched cavalry to search the area for Indians to use as guides and interpreters. After several minor skirmishes, the men returned with prisoners. They tell us this village is know as Ucita.
"The land round about was greatly encumbered and choked with a vast lofty forest. The Governor [De Soto] ordered it to the cut down for the space of a crossbow shot about the town, in order that the horses might run and the Christians have the advantage of the Indians if the latter should by chance try to attack by night."
The De Soto Chronicles
The Native Path
The coastal people of Florida lived in village societies governed by a hereditary chief, or cacique. Archaeological evidence shows these people traded seafood, shells, and game with tribes to the north for goods like corn, pottery, and stone arrow points.
The Conquistador Trail
The territory known as La Florida was larger than present-day Florida. According to 16th-century Spanish maps, La Florida encompassed all of the American Southeast, as far north as Virginia and as far west as Texas.
• "Calusa" (painting), by Dean Quigley - Coastal Florida Indian village in the 16th century
• Native American silver hair decoration
• Replica of a Spanish navigational map from 1584 of the territory of La Florida, sometimes referred to as the De Soto map
• Spanish coins found at the De Soto winter encampment site in Tallahassee, Florida
The Florida De Soto Trail is a cooperative project between
the Florida Department of Transportation, the Florida Park Service, and the National Park Service.
Erected by the Florida Department of Transportation,
Location. 27° 44.824′ N, 82° 28.332′ W. Marker is in Ruskin, Florida, in Hillsborough County. Marker is on E.G. Simmons Park Drive 3.2 miles west of South Tamiami Trail (U.S. 41). Touch for map. The marker is located adjacent to the beach parking lot on the grounds of E. G. Simmons Park, a Hillsborough County public park overlooking Tampa Bay. (Note: marker access depends on park operating hours). Marker is at or near this postal address: 2401 19th Avenue NW, Ruskin FL 33570, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 10 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Ruskin College President's Home (approx. 3.2 miles away); Tampa as Port of Embarkation for Spanish American War (approx. 8.9 miles away); Peter Demens (approx. 9.7 miles away); The World's First Scheduled Airline (approx. 9.7 miles away); World's First Regularly Scheduled Commercial Airline (approx. 9.7 miles away); World Record (approx. 9.8 miles away); St. Petersburg Central Yacht Basin (approx. 9.8 miles away); Demens Landing (approx. 9.9 miles away).
More about this marker. This marker's two, full-color panels are displayed side-by-side within a small, wooden-framed kiosk adorned with a red, metal roof.
Regarding De Soto Trail. The exact location of the De Soto expedition's landing and the site of Uzita is actually a subject of some debate among historians. Some hold that De Soto began his exploration of Florida many miles to the south by sailing into Charlotte Harbor and camping near what is today the city of Port Charlotte.
Additional keywords. DeSoto
Categories. • Colonial Era • Exploration • Native Americans •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 21, 2011, by Glenn Sheffield of Tampa, Florida. This page has been viewed 748 times since then and 34 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on July 21, 2011, by Glenn Sheffield of Tampa, Florida. 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on July 23, 2011, by Glenn Sheffield of Tampa, Florida. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.