On June 18, 1541, Hernando de Soto and his army of 350 conquistadors became the first Europeans to cross the Mississippi River. They spent the next year and a half conquering the nations in the fertile floodplains of eastern Arkansas.
Three surviving 16th-century journals from the expedition provide a detailed account of the complex array of twelve different nations that they encountered. Each nation had its own beliefs, language, and interconnected villages, with capital towns comparable in size to European cities of the time. The Spanish brought with them a host of deadly old-world diseases, a powerful new religion, and war.
No other Europeans ventured into this land until French explorers arrived 130 years later. They found no trace of the people or the towns that the Spanish had so vividly described. The only hope that the stories of these lost nations will ever be heard again lies with one unlikely Storykeeper.