by The Ruskin Chamber of Commerce
Mouth of the Little Manatee River is now widely accepted as the landing site of
Hernando DeSoto's expedition in 1539. Archaeologists and anthropologists used
carbon-dated artifacts found in the shell mounds and records from DeSoto's
expedition to determine that this area was most likely where DeSoto landed.
Within a hundred years of the first encounter with Spaniards,
researchers estimate that the native population of Florida had been decimated by
warfare and by disease. Therefore, little is know about what happened to this
area's surviving Indians until the 19th century.