October 18 - 1540 - Hernando de Soto Burns the Village of Mabila
Even among Spanish Conquistadors, Hernando de Soto is notable for his ruthlessnesness, blood lust, and general obnoxiousness. He was an Extremaduran minor noble, like other Conquistadors, and participated in the conquest of the Incas. His real abilities came when he took his own expedition throughout what is now the Southeastern United States. On his journey, de Soto encountered many different Native American polities, looking for gold. Almost all of them tried to get rid of him as soon as possible. When he wound up in present day central Alabama, he met a chief named Tuskaloosa. Tuskaloosa convinced de Soto that he could get supplies at the village of Mabila. When this did not satisfy de Soto, he had the town burned to the ground, killing Tuskaloosa and most of his men.