The De Soto National Memorial in Bradenton, Florida commemorates the 1539 landing of Hernando de Soto and the first extensive organized exploration by Europeans of what is now the southern United States. The memorial includes 26 acres, where the Manatee River joins Tampa Bay. Eighty percent of the area is mangrove swamp. In May 1539, Hernando de Soto and an army of over 600 soldiers landed in the Tampa Bay area. They arrived in nine ships laden with supplies. The expedition did not yield any gold or other treasure and was a humanitarian nightmare to the indigenous people of the area but it did set up the beginnings of Spanish rule in Florida.
Camp Uzita is a living history camp on site.