1540 – Hernando DeSoto

Spanish soldiers led by Hernando DeSoto, marching across the southland in their quest for gold, entered Mississippi in 1540 and reached the banks of the Mississippi River in northwest Mississippi in 1541. This party included at least 10 priests at the outset. The ruthless Spaniards inflicted grave harm on the native people they encountered and unsuccessfully attempted to enslave and convert to Christianity.