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One of the most famous Spanish explorers of 16th century was Hernando de Soto, who accompanied conquistador Francisco Pizarro in his destruction of Incan empire and contributed to the modern history by exploring the lands of Florida and discovering the mighty river Mississippi.
Juan Ponce de Leon is today remembered as a explorer who operated in central American waters shortly after Christopher Columbus made his historic journey to the west. During his life De Leon made many notable achievements, but today he is mostly remembered for his colonization of Florida and its exploration.
He is remembered as a captain of the ship "Santa Maria" that carried Christopher Columbus to his discovery of America in 1492. During his five voyages to the Carribean seas he made several maps of that area of witch most famous is "Mappa Mundi".
Knowledge of 16th century Caribbean island Cuba (then known as Hispaniola) expanded greatly with the discoveries of Spanish captain Sebastián de Ocampo who successfully managed to circumvent this island for the first time and enter the gulf of Mexico.