First Encounter

The First Encounter Documentary portrays the actions taken by the Chickasaw that proved to be the catalyst for the dwindling of Hernando de Soto’s mission for gold and riches in America during the late 1530s and early 40s. It was the first European contact for the Chickasaw, but perhaps the most important and set the standard by which the tribe remained for centuries, and still remains today - “unconquered and unconquerable.”

Hernando de Soto was one of the most famous conquistadors who set out to explore America. Landing on the shores of Tampa Bay, Florida, in May of 1539, de Soto and his army were seeking riches and glory.

Upon landing, de Soto and more than 700 Spaniards immediately began taking over native villages to use as camps. De Soto and the Spaniards proceeded to take advantage of the tribe’s people and selfishly squander their resources. It wasn’t long before de Soto learned of the “land of the Chicasa” and turned his expedition toward what is now Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and the Carolinas.

In December of 1540, the Spaniards arrived in Chickasaw territory. A reluctant relationship was formed between the two groups. However, as his reputation would suggest, de Soto began to assume unjustified authority over the Chickasaw and began to disrupt their way of life.

Soon, he began making harsh demands of the tribal leaders and the Chickasaw began planning an ambush to oust their increasingly unwelcome visitors. The Chickasaw overcame de Soto, disrupting his plans and ultimately putting an end to his expedition in America.

Educational Curriculum

First Encounter Elementary


First Encounter Secondary


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