The Bronze Panel Doors at the Archives
Meeting of DeSoto and Chief Tuscaloosa
Seeking treasure in the New World, the Spaniard Hernando DeSoto came into what is now Alabama from the northeast in 1540. Traveling southward, temporarily taking local Native American leaders as hostages to ensure safe passage, DeSoto and a force of some 600 reached the town of Maubila (or Mauvilla) in southwest Alabama in October of 1540. Here, the leader of the conquistadores met Tuscaloosa, an imposing Native American leader described by contemporaries as being seven feet in height. Following an exchange of gifts, a dispute arose. Although the Spaniards suffered casualties by the score, their superior weaponry, combined with their setting fire to the great village, killed thousands of Chief Tuscaloosa's people.