DeSoto's search for a seaway to China became apparent by following his trail to Lake Michigan. He realized that a Great Circle of Earth, drawn from Spainish Havana, Cuba, to China, ran up America's Great River toward what he believed was a "Northern Sea." On his way there, DeSoto pillaged villages for food and valuables.
His scouts found that "sea," Lake Michigan at Chicago, but in it no salt or ocean tides. With that news, DeSoto retreated west and southwest. He died in Arkansas; his people fled toward Mexico City, Spain's stronghold on the continent. Detailed Version of this Article