While under the Spanish flag, the Crown rigorously controlled the number of slaves allowed into Cuba and charged the settlers a 20% royalty for each slave they imported. In 1537, Havana was invaded and briefly occupied by the French. On April 6, 1538, Hernando de Soto with about 950 men and horses on ten ships sailed from Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Spain to Santiago de Cuba where he took over as the Governor of Cuba. From Santiago, he sailed around Cuba to Havana with a nine-ship convoy and set up a base which was administered by his wife and used as a stepping-stone to Florida. Anticipating this expedition, he sent Juan de Añasco with two ships to find a suitable landing site along the west coast of Florida. Añasco, who was Hernando de Soto’s scout, returned with four Indians who told fabricated stories about gold in Florida, which De Soto accepted as true. After some months preparing for the expedition, De Soto left Cuba and arrived at Shaw’s Point near present-day Bradenton, Florida, where he started his long trek in search of gold and silver.
Photo Caption: Portrait of Hernando de Soto. Visit Facebook page for picture….
Captain Hank Bracker, who served with the U.S. Military Intelligence Corps, is the author of the multi-award winning book, “The Exciting Story of Cuba” His books have been nominated to be at the NYC Book Exhibit this summer and are available at Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble.com, BooksAMillion.com and many Independent Book Shops.