In 1492, Christopher Columbus set sail to find a new water route to Asia. He ship drifted off to the east and he discovsered new land
In 1519, Alonso Alvarez Pineda searched for a northern waterway to the Pacific Ocean. Historians believe he discovered the Rio Grande.
In 1519, Hernando Cortes was sent to the Gulf of Mexico to explore the area, trade, or take slaves back to Cuba. Instead he decided to make an empire for himself. In 1521 he and his army reached Tenochtitlan, and were welcomed warmly and served as gods. Cortes took the emporer prisoner and demanded the aztecs pay a ransom. Montezuma died shortly after.The Aztecs attacked Cortes and his army , but he put an end to that by forming a blockade around the city and making the Aztecs starve and die from diesease.
Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca exploered in the Narvaez expedition and was one of the four survivors. When a hurricane knocked them of course the Karankawa Indians provided them with food and shelter. Most of the men died in the harsh winter and the rest of the men were used as slaves. During his years as a slave he became a trader and a healer, and was described the medicine man. When the Karankawa allowed them to go visit other tribes they escaped on foot. When they reached their home they told fabled stories about their adventures, and the Seven cities of Gold.
Francisco Coranado was a Spanish explorer who led a large expedition through present day Kansas and parts of Texas. He found no gold and felt like a complete failure, but he did claim large amounts of land.
La Salle was a french explorer, and in 1679 King Louis XIV gave him permission to claim new land for France. He sailed down the Mississippi river, and claimed all the land around it for France. On April 6, 1682 La salle reached the gulf of mexico and planted a cross in the ground. To honor his king he named the whole entire region loiusiana. La salle built a french settlement near the gulf of mexico call Fort Saint Louis. The settlement soon failed do to illness and poor leadership. In 1687, La Salle was killed by his own men.